“The more ‘blue’ there is on the ground, the less insecurity there is,” insists Gérald Darmanin

The Minister of the Interior was the guest of franceinfo on Tuesday morning to discuss the announcement made by Emmanuel Macron on Monday on the establishment of 239 new gendarmerie brigades in rural and peri-urban areas.

The more ‘blue’ there are on the ground, the more police there are, the more gendarmes there are, the less insecurity there is.“, declared Tuesday October 3 on franceinfo Gérald Darmanin, while Emmanuel Macron unveiled Monday October 2 the establishment of 239 new gendarmerie brigades in rural and peri-urban areas.

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“This is why we have significantly increased the number of police and gendarmerie for six years“, added the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories, who recognizes, however, that this is not enough. “In 30 years, the Republic has abolished 500 gendarmerie brigades throughout the national territory. We are recreating 240 at the request of the President of the Republic. This does not yet compensate since we undoubtedly still need to make a local effort. “

The criminal response and the judicial link with the Ministry of Justice are important, insisted Gérald Darmanin: “This is why we made a major reform of the national police so that there are more people who carry out investigations..” Regarding domestic violence, “that’s 400,000 investigations per year for police officers and gendarmes, for women or children victims of violence inside the family cocoon.”

Focus on public services

Two thirds of the new brigades will be mobile and therefore will not be installed in a particular gendarmerie. “Delinquency is itinerant. You have obvious things like the Oyapock and the Maroni (rivers which delimit Guyana). Le Touquet or Deauville, these are tourists, especially in summer, large stretches of beaches and so we have made equestrian brigades”, explained Gérald Darmanin. The minister continues by citing Les Landes and Gironde where brigades will be set up to fight against forest fires. “Elected officials want the police to be present in their homes”even if they are mobile units, according to the minister.

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Beyond security issues, the government wants to focus on public services. After the Yellow Vest crisis in 2018, and the “great debate” which followed, “the President of the Republic asked that public services be adapted to bring in the population, particularly in rural areas” while “for a long time, we thought that it was necessary to adapt the public service to the population.“And there,”we changed software“.

Gérald Darmanin recalled that the police and the gendarmerie complement each other. “The national police, in general, work in municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants. The national gendarmerie, in general, in municipalities with less than 20,000 inhabitants and the municipal police come under the jurisdiction of the mayor, they apply the decrees of the mayor. The role of the State is to guarantee security, it is not the role of the mayor and we are doing it by strengthening resources in an unprecedented way.” The increase in the number of gendarmes does not mean that the number of police officers will decrease. “During the previous five-year term, the president created more than 10,000 police and gendarmerie positions. The number of intelligence services was doubled. During this five-year term, there were as many police officers as gendarmes created, 3,500 police officers and 3,500 gendarmes”assured Gérald Darmanin.

Mobile and “hard” brigades

Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of these new brigades in January 2022, during a speech devoted to internal security in Nice (Côte-d’Azur). For several months, the Élysée and the Ministry of the Interior have been working with mayors and parliamentarians to establish the distribution of these brigades in rural areas.

There will be “between one and four brigades” moreover “in each department, including overseas“, the Elysée had already specified at the end of September. It will be about “mobile brigades with six gendarmes“(who will travel by truck between the different municipalities) or “of fixed brigades, ‘hard’, with around ten gendarmes”. “This concerns quite a few peri-urban territories which have lost brigades, and also in rural areas.“, added the presidency, promising “the first creations of mobile and fixed brigades” from “November 2023“. In total, 2,144 gendarmes will be recruited.

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