It is 11 p.m. this Saturday in November, in a village on the Atlantic coast.
Gaël and his three friends are driving home from dinner, 3 kilometers from their place of confinement.
No luck, they come across a gendarmerie car at the bend of the sandy path they take.
, masked faces and sheepish looks.
I played the game,
" says Gaël, who knows at this time that he "
" the now famous fine of 135 euros for non-compliance with confinement.
I just told them that we wanted to get some fresh air, and that we were aware of our abuse
Surprise, the gendarmes are magnanimous: "
We all want to get some fresh air ... There are four of you, we only verbalize the driver.
Get along with each other
A saving of several hundred euros for the small troop, accompanied by a meditation: “
I put myself in their shoes.
We did not give a damn about the world ... Strangely, their leniency encourages me to obey more rather than continue my game,
”promises the thirty-something.
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Tiredness of the police and gendarmes, instructions for leniency?
The particularly benevolent cases of controls, if they necessarily make less noise, do not seem isolated.
questioned several police and gendarmes.
On the verbalizations of confinement, the police force an unstable balance between bureaucratic demands and often “
” application of the texts, seeking above all efficiency.
The certificate, administrative aberration but an indication of goodwill
Thierry Clair, of the UNSA Police union, observes: "
the general state of mind is that the police say to themselves '' we are not here to scratch the citizens on this motive"
No number search
" therefore assures the union representative, who continues: "
We organize control operations on fixed points to show that we are present.
But we are not verbalization hunters
Once these motivations have been set, how do the patrollers practice discernment?
The objective element of control is first of all the certificate
" underlines Thierry Clair.
It constitutes a first indication of goodwill for the police.
Accompanied by an element of proof, even simple
", it suffices to distinguish the citizen a little applied for Thierry Clair, who underlines that "
most of the newspapers give certificates to be filled in their columns ... is not complicated
But can we cheat without risk, just playing the comedy set up by the government?
tempers the police officer
, but he helps to give us information, on which we are going to base ourselves
Some requests for clarification are sometimes necessary, sometimes not.
The rest is in the context of the control, and the possible risk taken by people, he explains.
Agents have free will in the field and that's good, it's part of the job
" also qualifies Grégory Joron, of the SGP-Police Unit union.
Some cases are subjective.
This is where you have to show a certain police sense.
What we are looking for in the implementation of these measures is efficiency,
”he explains like his colleague.
Indulgence when the situation is not risky, zero tolerance if the offense can concretely encourage contamination with Covid-19.
Another scenario that leads to a fine: an offense that requires police intervention.
Failure to comply with containment is an adjacent offense, but the fine appears inevitable.
Marc, a police officer in the Alps, testifies: "
if you are called in for a noise, and you discover an aperitif with guests who do not live on the premises, you obviously give notice
What wins the decision as far as I am concerned is the conscious non-compliance with both confinement and what it means: to preserve the health of each other
" he argues
And if in addition we are forced to move ...
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All the people questioned repeat it: attitude plays a big role, as always.
Even more so when the person is in a borderline situation: "
someone who recognizes things, and behaves in the right way ... This will encourage us to be benevolent
" summarizes Marc.
Speak calmly, respect the uniform and the gendarme on mission.
We immediately have these elements, the way we look at us, talk to us,
Over the course of the checks, the confinement will have multiplied the interactions of the police with French citizens.
And allowed agents to verify their image with them.
The results are rather positive: “
we are generally dealing with people of good will
”, judges Grégory Joron.
Rebels in principle
Law enforcement categorizes more difficult cases into several types.
There are people who absolutely do not want to complete their certificate, to play by the rules
" observes Thierry Clair, who lists among his colleagues several verbalizations that gave rise to a presentation to magistrate.
Disobedience repeated more than three times in a month is indeed an offense, punishable by imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of € 3,750.
In these marginal cases, there is an assumed will not to obey
" notes the delegate.
With what motivations?
There are those who have already been outside any republican framework for a long time
" notes Grégory Joron, referring to certain difficult neighborhoods.
They already drive without a license, are often drug users ... Raising their awareness of the covid risk, it's a waste of time,
" he grumbles.
a small handful of revolutionaries in the principled opposition
", with political motives.
No mercy either for these Che Guevara of confinement: "
They think what they want, but they have to take responsibility for their actions
" judged the police officer stoically.
The anonymous police source, for his part, smiles: “
sometimes they would make us laugh.
They believe they are fighting for the freedom of the world ... And they simply leave with a fine of 135 euros
In terms of "
, what will happen to those who fight for their faith, like Catholics praying in front of their closed churches, then recently dismayed by the gauge of 30 people for masses? ?
The hesitations at the highest level on this delicate issue could lead to their share of adaptations to the rule.
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Behind the scenes, we also confirm a desire to orient controls towards benevolence, at least in certain areas.
If the Ministry of the Interior insists on respect for the law, the time for “
” is over, the mayors, who define the modalities of action of their municipal police, often encourage their teams to be lenient.
They are in direct contact with their citizens, it is they who will first bear the cost of popular discontent over these verbalizations
" details an anonymous police source.
They do not want to see the national law applied too firmly
", she explains, for political reasons but also to let the city centers live.
Certain businesses, theoretically banned, sometimes also have the right to a discreet look away, when they play an important part in the life of a village or a small town.
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Marc confides, the government measures weigh on everyone, including the police: “
in our teams, depending on the changes there are many people whose companion is in another region.
It's painful for everyone, and it affects us as much as the rest of the population
Daily work is also complicated.
Grégory Joron sums it up: “
controls are added to the rest of our missions.
Terrorism, demonstrations ... And delinquency.
During the first confinement, it had fallen, but this time, with all possible movements, it remains present
If the police and gendarmes apply the current rules with discernment, they all stress it, they do not have only that to do.
The anonymous source concludes, a bit weary: “
it's not the core business