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After the attack last weekend on a police station in Champigny-sur-Marne, on the outskirts of Paris, the police unions, received Tuesday by the Minister of the Interior, denounce an escalation of violence against them. How to explain this hostility between certain neighborhood youth and the police? Analysis (continuation and end).
Social construction of mistrust, feeling of impunity, local memory of conflicts, reasons for mistrust between police officers and some of the young people from priority neighborhoods are numerous. Added to this is the feeling of humiliation.
>> To read on France24.com: Attack on the Champigny police station: the “antiflic hatred” in question (1/2)
In the field, this is particularly played out at the occasion of identity checks. One of the “nodes of the problem”, according to Mathieu Zagrodzki, researcher associated with Cesdip (Center for sociological research on law and penal institutions). “In Germany and the United Kingdom, the contact is informal. In France, the police start with the identity check and we discuss afterwards. For the checked, it is a humiliation; for the police, a routine . It says a lot about the gulf between them. Not to mention the feeling of injustice.
“There is no one left to defuse”
“Priority”, sensitive areas are in the statutes, not in the facts, even less in the representations. “We must stop considering working-class neighborhoods as enemies of the Republic, ‘territories of reconquest’,” protests Zouhair Ech-Chetouani, spokesperson for the Banlieues Respect Collective, located in the northern districts of Asnières. The latter does not blame the police, however. According to him, it bears the brunt of structural problems.
“The police pay for the lack of jobs, guidance and educational support in the neighborhoods,” he analyzes. “We removed the assisted contracts, which made it possible to recruit educators and support sports associations. Local elected officials have cut grants to associations. We do not support enough mediators, the famous” big brothers “. The result, is that there is no longer anyone to defuse and the police are on the front line “, continues Zouhair Ech-Chetouani, before letting go:” When I was young, I dreamed of being a police officer, but who would dare to play cop today. hui? “
Here again, this observation ironically echoes the glaring shortcomings on the police side: lack of staff, lack of resources, lack of recognition, unsuitable training, etc. The police no longer have the time or the means to ensure a local service in sensitive neighborhoods and the bond of trust with the population suffers.
“The less the police provide services, the less the population appreciates it”, notes in “Seine-Saint-Denis, the forgotten of the Republic“, Christian Mouhanna, director of the Center for Sociological Research on Law and Penal Institutions. In Seine-Saint-Denis, for example,” interventions require at least two vehicles. But the police are short of cars. “Instead of intervening in ten minutes, it will take three quarters of an hour. And if the police arrive too late, they lose their credit with the inhabitants.”
“How do you bond when you’re not out of your car?”
The actors in the field deplore the disappearance of the local police, recorded in 2003 under Nicolas Sarkozy, then Minister of the Interior. “The disappearance of the islanders did a lot of harm to relations between the police and the population. Before, we were assigned to an area where we stayed, where we knew the people, we were on foot and therefore in contact. How to create links when you do not get out of your car? “asks Flavien Bénazet, now national secretary of SNUITAM-FSU, but a former islander at the city of Courtilières in Pantin (Seine-Saint -Denis), from 1991 to 1996.
“When I was young, we knew each other with the police, there was a form of respect”, abounds Zouhair Ech-Chetouani. “But now, we are being sent young people, poorly trained, from other regions, who do not know the places or the people. And in addition, it is as if we were sending them to war zones …”, deplores the spokesperson for the Collectif Banlieues Respect, who denounces “brigades which are solely in a repressive logic”.
A reflection which refers to the question of police doctrine: “In France, the police were designed by the State to monitor citizens. In the Anglo-citizen world, it originally came from civil society. follows a strong cultural difference: in France, the police are focused on repression. In Germany and England, the police are there to resolve conflicts “, recalls the researcher associated with Cesdip.