French police union demands tougher legal action after shootings

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2012 4:59 PM
French police union demands tougher legal action after shootings

LA ROCHELLE, France (Reuters) - A leading French police union called on Saturday for tougher legal measures after three officers were shot and injured in clashes in the Paris suburb of Grigny overnight.

"Criminal determination and the extreme violence of organized gangs in the face of the national police can no longer be trivialized," Nicolas Comte, secretary general of the Unite SGP Police-Force Ouvriere union, said in a statement.

Anyone firing on police should be automatically charged with attempted murder, Comte said.

Riots in Amiens last week put security at the top of the agenda for President Francois Hollande, who needs to take a tough stance on crime without alienating left-wing supporters or reviving memories of his hardline predecessor.

"After Amiens, Grigny, police officers are not going to be able to continue to serve as targets," the union's Comte said.

Friday's violence in Grigny also prompted an attack on the government's law and order policy by the far-right National Front party, which said in a statement that the incident discredited the Socialists.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls sought to defend the new Socialist government's law and order policies.

"The left must re-establish the Republic's order in those suburbs where there is the law of the jungle," he told Socialist party members at a conference in La Rochelle.

Valls reiterated a pledge this month to roll back cuts under the previous government by adding 500 officers a year from 2013 after the unrest in Amiens which left 17 police injured.

The Alliance police union said Nicolas Sarkozy's government cut about 5,000 police jobs from 2008 to 2012 as it struggled to rein in the deficit during the financial crisis.

(Reporting by Gerard Bon and James Regan; Editing by Louise Ireland)