Emmanuel Macron is headed for confrontation with his own police force amid demands that he change the country’s legal system.
Officers are threatening to strike after rioting across France saw a number placed in pre-trial detention on suspicion of police brutality.
Police union leaders insist that no member of the country’s law enforcement services should be jailed before trial for decisions made while on duty. Unions have threatened to take action if the government does not change the law.
Interview au 13h de TF1 et de France 2 depuis la Nouvelle-Calédonie. https://t.co/aekE9VRd0x
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 24, 2023
President Macron has dismissed such demands in a pre-recorded interview, insisting officers will be treated in the same way as anyone else suspected of a serious crime.
Although the French head of state said he understood the “emotions” of police in France, he insisted that the status quo would remain.
“No one is above the law,” Macron said.
The police commissioner of France, Frédéric Veaux, expressed support for officer unions. “In general, I believe that before a possible trial, a police officer has no place in prison, even if he may have committed serious faults or errors in the course of his work,” he said in a recent interview with Le Parisien. The knowledge that some officers accused of disproportionate violence during the riots were behind bars was keeping him up at night, he said.
Veaux also told the outlet that the country’s Minister for the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, was in agreement with him on this point, something that has greatly angered the French Left.
Support for officers may put Darmanin in conflict with his own President.