More police officers but fewer clarified investigations… How to explain the finding of the Court of Auditors?

the finding of the Court of Auditors is final: despite a 21% increase in the wage bill between 2010 and 2020 – i.e. the recruitment of around 8,000 additional police officers – the presence on the ground of officials is declining and the rate of elucidation of investigations has stagnated, “even deteriorates ”. A few examples first: while in 2016, 70.3% of murder cases were solved, they were only 62.6% in 2020. The rate of clarification of burglaries, it is stable, but at a very low level, around 10%. As for robberies, the resolution rate has increased slightly in recent years, going from 10.8% in 2015 to 15.4% last year. However, this remains very low for one of the most common offenses.

“We share the report drawn up by the Court of Auditors, confides bluntly Camille Chaize, spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior. In fact, we had already identified these issues, which is what led us to organize the “Beauvau de la sécurité” and to initiate reforms. According to the financial magistrates, these difficulties are explained in particular by the distribution of the workforce. If they have increased overall since the 2015 attacks, this has not been done in a uniform manner. Thus, civil servants assigned to the “security and public peace” services have fallen by 10% in 10 years, while those in the “foreigners and air transport police” have increased by 31%. Direct consequence: the rate of presence of officers on public roads has declined slightly for ten years.

The disaffection of experienced police officers

Paradoxically, services that have benefited from reinforcements are also in “great difficulty”, notes the report, pointing directly to the judicial police. In ten years, its workforce has increased by 10% but it is impossible to cope with the 3.9 million annual procedures. “Its results are marked by a low level of elucidation of low and middle spectrum crimes, corresponding for our fellow citizens to everyday crime,” says the report. In particular: the disaffection of this sector by the confirmed police officers because of the ever heavier weight of the legal procedure. Clearly, the administrative aspect pushes many officials to turn away from this matter.

“It is a real problem, especially for everything relating to the daily judiciary,” says Camille Chaize. Today, we have police officers who prefer to be on the public highway than to deal with proceedings. “Because at the same time, recalls a high-ranking police source,” judicial investigations are becoming more complex, not only at the level of criminal proceedings, they are also increasingly technical. “From now on, the slightest conversation takes place on an encrypted messaging system, like Telegram or Whatsapp, while the Darkweb takes a growing place in delinquency… So many additional obstacles in the investigations.

Recasting of the criminal procedure

Aware of these difficulties, the government announced, in mid-September, at the end of the “Beauvau de la sécurité”, a series of measures to “simplify and improve” the work of investigators, starting with a simplification of the criminal procedure. . If the measure promises to be long and tedious to put in place – no timetable has been set – certain experiments are already underway, starting with the development of the tort fine in the field of narcotics. A structural reform of the “investigation” sector to encourage officials to specialize in this area will also be initiated. “Things will not change in a snap, that’s for sure, but this report shows that we have identified the same points as the Court of Auditors and that we are working on them concretely”, insists Camille Chaize.

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