Dystopian pictures show French Police labour conditions: Broken cell doors barricaded, cockroaches, broken cars etc.
— U.P.N.I Com. (@UPNI2017) August 22, 2017
The French Independent Union for the National Police (UPNI) has called on all police officers in France to send in pictures of their working conditions. It has even made it into a little game, offering a sort of sweepstake on Twitter:
— U.P.N.I Com. (@UPNI2017) August 6, 2017
Although the presentation is a little unprofessional, probably on purpose, the tone of the humour gets a little darker when looking at the reason the Union has for its call. In a press statement on its website, the Union writes that it is trying to fight government ignorance. After TF1, the television station with the highest ratings in France, did a report on the living conditions of police officers (the UPNI links to the report in its statement, but the link is dead) they were contacted by the Directorat General of the National Police. The Directorat questioned the pertinence of the photographs shown in the report and wondered whether they really were:
“recent and representative.“
This struck something of a nerve with the UPNI, and they challenged all police officers in France to prove that the pictures were representative by simply making more. The response has been massive. Delipidated buildings, barricaded cell doors because the locks were broken, defective plumbing, birds nesting, dozens of cockroaches leaving a hole, more defective patrol vehicles than operational vehicles, cars with 500.000 km on the oddometer… Just see for yourself:
French police are under a lot of pressure lately, and the government is trying to respond. Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve, who is responsible for the police, has presented a ‘public security plan’ worth €250 million, which includes measures for material assistance. But the UPNI counters that sometimes management problems are very local:
“The number of police officers is falling, and while financial means are supposed to increase, most of them are dedicated to the fight against terrorism. (…) Security is expensive, we are aware of that, but the costs of insecurity are even higher.“
The UPNI understands the awkward position the government is in, but argues that at the end of the day, if basic needs are not met, the effect on police moral is detrimental and the problems will become insurmountable. After looking at the pictures, it is not hard to see what they mean. Police officers have until 10 September to send in photographs, after which a winner will be announced. All photographs will be published online 16 September, then collected in a petition and offered to the Ministry of the Interior.