four years of trial and error for a president without networks

Is it to reassure the 78% of French people who, according to an Odoxa poll published in May, do not trust the government in the fight against delinquency? On Wednesday, the President of the Republic is due to go to Marseille, where a series of settling of scores recently claimed four victims in five days, before concluding in person, in mid-September, the work of the Beauvau for security.

In this area, king par excellence, Emmanuel Macron knows that he must regain control, fill a deficit of incarnation and tackle an essential task, stake and challenge in the perspective of the presidential election of 2022: to strengthen his security device, starting by convincing the police themselves.

Difficult, however, to find fault with the choice of headliners. As boss of the French police, Frédéric Veaux ticks all the boxes: a solid experience forged along a career in the judicial police (PJ), anti-terrorism and intelligence, and a detour through the prefectural; at the Directorate General of Internal Security (DGSI), the forty-something Nicolas Lerner, hard worker from the same promotion as the Head of State at the ENA, is a former cabinet of the Paris police prefect then Gérard Collomb, place Beauvau; at the national intelligence coordination, Laurent Nunez, former police prefect in Marseille from 2015 to 2017, also briefly passed through the management of the DGSI before being appointed Secretary of State to Christophe Castaner, until July 2020. A trio “High end”, as the police say. But such responsibilities hardly leave the leisure to take on the role of sherpas, these discreet advisers who put expertise and networks at the service of French presidents.

Therein lies undoubtedly the defect in the presidential armor, this absence of “fine sensors”, as comfortable technically as politically and able to take the pulse of the institution from the base to the top to transmit, in two hours. and three phone calls, the high added value information essential to the exercise of power – the kind of profile likely to circumscribe, if not avoid, the Benalla fiasco. At the Elysee Palace, the trauma related to the case is still alive.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also May 1, 2018: account of the muscular genesis of the Benalla affair at the Jardin des Plantes

No question of risking a new misstep, nor of maintaining the bad manners of the old world, with its troubled cohort of evening visitors, its low masses around a board of charcuterie at the Griffonnier, a Parisian canteen very popular with locals. police officers, or Chez Françoise, the parliamentarians’ table, in the basement of the Invalides terminal. A matter of principle. Of culture, too. But with its baronies, its codes and its stubborn enmities, its hallway conspiracies that make and break reputations, the police remain largely alien to the new world of a president described by those around him as « hyperconnected on security issues, with billions of censors ”.

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