52% of law enforcement officers consider that the success of their mission takes precedence over respect for the law

Police officers and gendarmes voluntarily responded to a questionnaire from the Defender of Rights concerning their practice in maintaining order and providing personal assistance.



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A policeman and a gendarme on a motorcycle.  (illustrative photo) (JOSSELIN CLAIR / MAXPPP)

More than half of police officers or gendarmes (51.8%) consider that carrying out their mission is a priority over respecting the law, according to a study unveiled Tuesday February 27 by the Defender of Rights. This is a questionnaire completed voluntarily and anonymously by 976 gendarmes and 655 police officers spread over seven departments. The institution highlights perceptions “contrasted” professional practices of law enforcement within the latter.

If the use of force to obtain a confession is disapproved by more than 9 out of 10 respondents, nearly 6 out of 10 consider that in “certain cases” (unspecified), the use of more force than what is provided for in the texts should be tolerated. This opinion is even more widespread among police officers (69.1%, compared to 54.2% among gendarmes). A repressive vision of the profession confirmed by the fact that more than half of them, police officers and gendarmes combined, believe that their primary mission is to enforce the law, and to stop the “delinquents”, rather than helping people in danger (one in four), or even protecting republican institutions (4%). Furthermore, only one gendarme in three and less than one police officer in four (23.3%) think that citizens can be trusted to behave properly.

The police also consider themselves insufficiently trained

The members of the police forces interviewed also point out the lack of training within their ranks: one in five claims to know “GOOD” Or “perfectly” the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, while almost half of them (45.7%) consider themselves insufficiently trained in matters of citizens’ rights and ethical rules.

The study finally reveals the critical eye exercised by professionals on identity checks : nearly 40% of police officers and gendarmes believe that frequent checks are not or only slightly effective in guaranteeing the security of a territory.

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