The term “police violence” has never been so present in the public debate, with supporting images, even though the “global security” bill is contested from all sides: request for the withdrawal of articles 24, which penalizes the malicious dissemination of images of police officers, 20, 21 and 22 on the use of pedestrian cameras and drones, and of the new National Law Enforcement Plan (SNMO).
The fight against the trivialization of general surveillance of citizens continues and the limitation of the right to information. Olivier Fillieule and Fabien Jobard return in Policies of disorder. Police protests in France (Threshold, 2020) on the history of law enforcement protocols. It was at the end of the 19th century that the techniques of maintaining order were invented, especially after the bloody episode of the massacre carried out by the soldiers of Thiers against the Communards. They were consolidated with the creation of a specialized force in 1921 within the national gendarmerie: the mobile gendarmerie. For the national police, follows the creation of the republican security companies (CRS). It was not until the Charonne massacre (1962) that a de-escalation of violence then began. The authors recall that, since the 1980s and 1990s, the management of collective protests has followed a threefold model: under-application of the law (systematic non-execution of repressive measures), partnership upstream and during the event and massive collection of information. ‘information on the groups called to meet. On the other hand, the 2000s saw a worrying technical evolution of equipment, certainly in the face of a rise in “urban violence” (is it social or urban?). Another development which complicates the situation: the nature of protest groups has changed, the unions being less present, and therefore less supervising. The “anarcho-autonomous” movement has grown, the left radicals and the resurgence of extreme right groups. Independently of the evolution of the social context and of the “technical” reinforcement of the maintenance of order, Fillieule and Jobard focus on three crucial aspects of the brutalization of the latter: “The erosion of traditional capacities for maintaining order under the effect of budgetary restriction policies, in connection with the decline in training, both initial and continuing; the weight of the experience of urban violence in the pro-ideology police officers’ training and its consequences on the perception of the division between demonstration and riot; the continuous movement of judicialization maintaining order. “
Finally, omerta and denial take precedence because the police would oppose “Resistance to the project of knowing” (Jean-Paul Brodeur): “prefecture sociology” echoing the institution’s servile echo. The conclusion is hardly more encouraging: in the future the repressive movement and the facilities of the state of emergency should complete the meaning that the demonstration had socially.