Demoralized police need help
Le Républicain Lorrain
Our police are in crisis, said Xavier Brouet. Months of clashes with Yellow Vest protesters and “black bloc” anarchists have worn down a force weary of protecting a French public that openly reviles them. Last week, 27,000 off-duty, out-of-uniform officers marched through Paris to protest their working conditions. There’s plenty to complain about: “dilapidated police stations, lack of staff and equipment, no overtime pay.” So far this year, 52 of our nation’s 150,000 officers have committed suicide. And just a day after the march came a gruesome attack from within the force itself. An administrator who works at the Paris police headquarters suddenly began stabbing his colleagues with a knife, killing four before being shot to death. The 45-year-old man was a Muslim convert who had been communicating with Islamist extremists online. The attack is being investigated as suspected terrorism, as if to underscore yet another danger that our officers face daily. The police are working on the front line of a society that is still reeling from the 2008 financial meltdown and the austerity measures forced on it by successive governments. Our officers feel the same despair and exhaustion as the rest of the nation. The “diagnosis is burnout”—but what is the cure?