Comprehensive Insecurity: When Police brutality is facilitated by the State.

Paris, le 27 novembre 2020

With Minister Darmanin demanding the blurring of police officers’ faces on pictures and videos, Volt France simply cannot support the “comprehensive security law”. The package claims to “protect those who protect us” by empowering law enforcement. However, that is not what will bring safety and it will not ensure the rule of law. In fact, it might well achieve the opposite.

Even though the law would permit unblurred recordings to be used in court, the public spreading of pictures outside of such proceedings would be penalised. This flies in the face of journalistic freedom and would undercut the ability to hold officers accountable. Thus, those who would overstep the boundaries of their law enforcement profession will find themselves emboldened.

Law enforcement has a right to both be and to feel safe in the line of duty. Threatening to subject a physical person to crime is already punishable under Penal Code. The fines are substantial, and if you threaten someone with death, the fine can be up to 45.000 Euros. These laws need to be enforced, and are certainly applicable to officers in the line of duty, should people try to scare legitimate law enforcement into submission. 

At the very same time, citizens have an undeniable right to watch their watchmen. That is where this law fails to deliver. The regulation will not ensure the safety of the officers who protect us. What it will do, however, is limit the public’s ability to ensure that law enforcement officers actually do protect us. 

Volt does not stand alone here. The European Court of Human Rights condemned France for violating the right to life by way of police brutality. With such criticism on the table, it is certainly not the time to anonymise those whose duty indeed is to protect the citizenry. Most of Europe, including France, is criticising Poland and Hungary’s governments for undermining their Rule of Law. This is not the time for France to be giving them any excuses either.

Society is built on trust and safety. To build that, Volt France proposes the establishment of a code enforcement brigade similar to the German Ordnungsbehörde. This unit would serve the community without bearing arms, and would be tasked with building bridges to the local population. This would help de-escalating tensions before additional law enforcement would ever have to be called in.

Both law enforcement officers and journalistic professionals must be allowed to to exercise their respective jobs within the Rule of Law. These measures will bring little to no extra safety for officers in the line of duty, but will instead crack down on the freedom of the press. It is not proportionate, and it is not right.

About Volt

Volt is a European movement, born after the Brexit vote, which is present in 29 countries of Europe, with political parties established in 15 countries. The countries share the same values and the aim is to create a different way of doing politics, giving everyone a voice and working across borders on a progressive project for more participatory democracy, more ecology and more solidarity between European countries. Volt France is the French chapter of Volt Europe organised as an association under the French law of 1901.

More information on https://www.voltfrance.org

Contact

Robin Fontaine - Relation Presse, Volt Europa
robin.fontaine@volteuropa.org

Charles Evain - President, Volt France
charles.evain@volteuropa.org

Photo par: Photo by ev on Unsplash