Police Resources and Personnel: The Security Act in the hands of the Senate
The Senate will begin Tuesday’s first-reading examination of the Interior Ministry’s Guidance and Programming Law (Lopmi), which envisages a €15 billion financial outlay over five years and the creation of 8,500 police and gendarme posts.
For this first stage in Parliament, the text presented by Gérald Darmanin should not encounter any major difficulties in a chamber dominated by the right. Nevertheless, more than 200 amendments were tabled, mostly from the left.
The Lopmi was cut in half compared to its original version sent to Parliament ahead of the presidential election. The minister expects “a profound transformation” of his ministry.
She doesn’t understand the controversial reform of the criminal police, which is currently being met with hostility from many investigators and judges. But the topic is likely to liven up the debates, just a few days after the dismissal of the chief of the criminal police in southern France.
Essentially, the draft law provides for another 15 billion euros in the budget over five years, half of it for digital investments. The 2023 internal budget is already part of this perspective, with an announced increase of +6% compared to 2022 to 22 billion euros.
The text envisages the creation of 8,500 police and gendarme posts in five years, including “3,000 from 2023,” according to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
This includes in particular the preparation for the two major international sporting events that France is hosting in 2023 (Rugby World Cup) and 2024 (Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris).
– “Logic of Means” –
To combat cybercrime, which has been on the rise in recent years, the draft law will allow confiscation of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. Regarding “ransomware” (such as a $10 billion ransom demand from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital center, victim of a computer attack), reimbursement by the insurance companies is made conditional on the victim filing a complaint.
It also provides for tougher penalties for sexist insults and contains several measures to simplify criminal proceedings.
Among the changes made in committee, senators adopted an amendment to increase penalties for refusing to comply, urban rodeos and violence against elected officials.
Another notable change: they put a damper on the government’s desired generalization of the tort fine (AFD) to all offenses punishable by imprisonment of less than one year.
They limited the expansion of the AfD to a “positive list” of around ten new offenses such as attaching trailers, obstructing traffic, and unjustified use of the alarm signal in trains.
They again voted for socialist changes to make it easier for victims with disabilities to receive and access online procedures.
For the rapporteurs Marc-Philippe Daubresse (LR) and Loïc Hervé (middle), the Senate majority cannot “objectively” oppose a text that grants more resources to the interior.
However, the leader of the LR senators, Bruno Retailleau, regrets that he is part of a “logic of means” and believes “that we will only solve the security issue if we put an end to judicial negligence and migratory negligence”.
On the left, communists and ecologists in committee voted against the text, which the majority communist group CRCE says “dedicates a police force to repression.”
The Socialists abstained. For its chairman, Patrick Kanner, “the text is inadequate, but the group advocates additional funding for the police, an element of Republican security.”
A formal vote will be organized at the end of the first reading in the Senate on October 18th, then the MPs will work in turn on the amended text.
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