Key points

Confronted to the security challenges that France faces (terrorist threat, crime, immigration, etc.), Emmanuel Macron first proposes to allocate additional resources to police and gendarmerie forces, be it through human means (with the recruitment of 10,000 police and gendarmerie officers), budget (increase in the Ministry of the Interior’s budget by 7% in 2018) or even equipment (vehicles, protection, digital tools).

The government’s action is also aimed at reinforcing a territorial approach to restore the rule of law in certain neighborhoods. An experiment is underway with the reorganization of security forces in priority areas with the establishment of a daily security police. The simplification of the criminal proceeding will also be a decisive element of this strategy, which aims to provide additional resources. Nevertheless, the efficiency of this policy will be assessed based on its results. A more decentralizing approach could be considered.

The government’s efforts allowed for the end of the state of emergency, which was launched in November 2015 and ended in October 2017, coupled with the establishment of new legal means guaranteeing the rule of law, while maintaining the operational capacity of the security services to deal with the terrorist threat.
 The security forces’ main challenge today is that of adopting digital tools.

Key figures 

  • 7% increase in the Ministry of the Interior’s budget in 2018 (+ €490 million, mainly devoted to mortgage and investment loans).
  • Regarding the digital sphere, the number of “cyber fighters” will be raised from 3,000 to 4,000 and €1.6 billion over the 2019-2025 period will be invested to tackle this issue.
  • 1,500 jobs will be created in the field of intelligence over the same period.
  • 10,000 jobs will be created over the 5-year period in the police and gendarmerie.
  • 110,000 digital tablets will be purchased by 2020 in the police and gendarmerie services.
  • 60 neighborhoods are targeted by the daily security police, whose workforce will gradually reach 1,300 officers.
  • 800 new agents will be dedicated to the fight against cyber threats within the police and gendarmerie over the 5-year period.

Key dates

22 june 2017

Introduction of bills extending the state of emergency and strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism

june 2017

13 october 2017

Submission to the President of the Strategic Review on Defence and National Security

october 2017

18 october 2017

Adoption of the bill strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism

1 november 2017

End of the state of emergency

november 2017

9 february 2018

Launch of the police for daily security

february 2018

21 february 2018

Presentation of the bill on asylum and immigration

23 february 2018

Presentation of a plan to fight radicalization

22 april 2018

Adoption of the Asylum and Immigration Bill

april 2018

Figures

Police for daily security

Description: Implementation of police for daily security
Campaign promise? Yes
Cost for public finances of around €580 million per year at the end of the period
Cost breakdown:
Cost borne by the State: 100%
Cost borne by local authorities: 0%
Cost borne by social security: 0%

The implementation of the police for daily security would translate into many different measures, only some of which would have a quantifiable cost for public finances: recruitment of 10,000 police officers and gendarmes by 2022, increase in equipment credits and credits linked to the real estate policy of the gendarmerie and the police. At the end of the period, the annual additional cost for public finances would be around €580 million. This cost per year would be lower between 2018 and 2022, given the sprawl of recruitment.

Campaign promises

Facing an ever-present terrorist threat and tangible insecurity in certain areas of the French territory, candidate Macron criticized a weakening of the security forces. According to him, this trend is due to the suppression of 12,500 jobs in the police and the gendarmerie between 2007 and 2012, as well as to the additional administrative tasks imposed on police and gendarmerie officers.
He thus advocated for the establishment of a daily security police in order to territorialize security services and ensure better support at the local level.
Emmanuel Macron also promoted a reinforcement and greater territorialization of intelligence services in order to fight terrorism effectively. He thus supported the establishment of a special anti-Daesh intelligence unit and centralized intelligence headquarters devoted to the planning of domestic security operations. Even though the state of emergency issue did not appear in his program, he intends to decide whether or not to safeguard it depending on the threat risk described by intelligence services.
 According to the candidate, France has to take its part in welcoming refugees all the while deterring those who do not meet the criteria to obtain a residence permit. Facing the European challenge of migration, Emmanuel Macron promotes integration of foreign nationals as well as “knowledge-driven immigration”, by facilitating visa procedures for young “talents” and developing circulation permits for professionals. He also proposes to amend exam procedures for asylum seekers and the modalities under which the right can be called upon in order for the procedure to last less than six months.
Lastly, he committed to recruit 10,000 additional police and gendarmerie officers assigned to priority areas over the 5-year period, and calls for the strengthening of European security cooperation through the creation of 5,000 border police jobs at the European Union level.

Overview

France was in a state of emergency for almost two years. Emmanuel Macron’s first bill concerned its (sixth) extension, until 1 November 2017, while ensuring the establishment of a sufficient legal arsenal to face France’s security challenges through the law strengthening internal security and the fight against terrorism, adopted in October 2017.

After several months of consultations, the daily security police was launched in February 2018. It will gradually deploy 1,300 police officers in 60 neighborhoods, with the ambition to refocus police tasks by reducing their administrative duties.

In February 2018, following the Interministerial Committee for Prevention and Radicalization (CIPDR), a national plan “Prevent to protect” was announced by Emmanuel Macron. Its ambition is to develop the prevention policy in schools and on the Internet, to provide individualized care for radicalized people in the hands of justice (judicial control, electronic bracelet …) and especially for individuals having returned from zones of Jihadist fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Finally, the bill passed in April amending the entry, reception and return conditions for foreign nationals is an important and coherent step to reach the announced goal. Indeed, it seeks to:

  • Reduce the delays of asylum seeking proceedings
  • Reinforce the fight against illegal immigration’s efficiency and credibility
  • Simplify and secure the right of residence
  • Improve the welcoming conditions of foreign talents

Analysis

The need for security, and especially the fight against terrorism, remains an utter priority for French citizens.
Candidate Macron’s promises aimed to meet this expectation. The first measures have already been adopted. Nevertheless, the efficiency of this policy will be assessed based on its results.
Insecurity, sometimes emphasized by a strong impression of vulnerability, led the government to set up, at first as an experiment, the daily security police. The aim is to guarantee the application of Republican law in areas where crime flourishes (drug trafficking in particular) and where the feeling of abandonment is being most felt by its inhabitants. It also fosters a renewed dialogue with young people in these neighborhoods – ones who feel marginalized and/or targeted by the police, sometimes because of their foreign origin.
There is a fine line between a repressive and a local police, both often criticized.
While an experimentation is about to begin, essentially through the assignment of additional officers at first, it is clear that for the moment, the “wait-and-see attitude” prevails within security forces. They expect an effective increase in human resources with the recruitment of police and gendarmerie officers, fearing a new distribution of staff that, in fact, would be detrimental to territories other than those selected. Although the President has renewed his commitment, the actual allocation of staff, once recruitment plans have been launched, will take some time.
However, the most significant marker of this approach will be the criminal proceeding reform and more generally the suppression or drastic reduction of undue tasks, which had already been initiated during the previous presidential term.
Minor and average crimes, as well as incivilities, are certainly triggering the feeling of insecurity that often prevails in public opinion.
It will therefore be a global policy, already implemented particularly through reforms aimed at improving our education system, which may ultimately provide an effective and discernible response to our fellow citizens. The increase in the number of police and gendarmerie officers will not be sufficient.
The fight against terrorism equally remains an utter priority following the tragic events our country has experienced.
The government managed very well the end of the state of emergency, while at the same time safeguarding the police, gendarmerie and intelligence services’ action capacity by legalizing it. It is undeniably a success that should be emphasized.
The redesign of the coordination system through the strengthening the former structure of the National Intelligence Coordinator was the flagship measure announced by candidate Macron.
Although the objective is clear, further simplification and rationalization of existing structures is to be expected, in order to avoid overlapping coordination bodies, while taking into account the requirements of continuity and efficiency and clearly stating political and administrative responsibilities.
The realization that terrorism is partly rooted in radicalization has led the government to devise a global approach aiming to tackle this phenomenon at its root, while continuing to reflect, as previous governments had already done, on the place of Islam in our country, pursuing at the same time a better integration of France’s second religion in society and a stronger engagement of the Muslim community.

And now?

Security is intrinsically a State prerogative. But can and should this approach be partly challenged today?
Fighting terrorism, combating organized crime and illegal immigration must imperatively be the exclusive responsibility of the State, even though these scourges now require a European or even global strategy, as globalization and the digital revolution challenge the efficiency of exclusively national approaches.
But how can we act against minor and average crimes, as well as incivilities, that largely trigger the feeling of insecurity that our fellow citizens experience?
The answer can only be global and must involve all public actors, beyond the sphere of law enforcement.
Is it not time to question the need for greater decentralization of powers and responsibilities?
The Jacobin vision (that is the tendency to centralize) that has historically prevailed in France should be amended. Therefore, the debate between supporters of a local police and supporters of an exclusively repressive police would lose its substance, as means would be adapted to local situations that indeed require differentiated handling.
Neighboring countries, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany, are successfully leading this policy, as citizens feel that their problems are actually being addressed.
A pooling of existing resources, along with the definition of each actor’s scope of intervention (national forces, municipal police, private security), but in the service of a common strategy addressing local problems, would be likely to provide a better response to our fellow citizens’ concerns.
The pending question would be to determine the authority responsible for the implementation of such a policy, which could be collective, as in Great Britain, where representatives of civil society are associated with local elected representatives and public officials. The State should nevertheless remain the guarantor of territorial justice in the allocation of national resources.
The adaptation of the security system must, on the other hand, be an absolute imperative by massively integrating the considerable contribution of new technologies, especially digital technology. The project has been launched, but massive investments must support it, not only through the allocation of additional funds, but also through a voluntarist human resources policy, allowing for the recruitment of specialists. As the whole of society, security forces must evolve, which will require a strong support in terms of training but also explanation, in order to persuade all agents of the challenge’s importance.
Cybertechnology is key for our society today, both in order to help our police forces carry out their missions, and to better protect French citizens and more generally our interests, including fundamental ones.
The diversity and scale of the threats facing the country must trigger a massive response, both immediate and in the medium term, by involving all public actors but also private actors, industrial ones in particular.
What can the role of the European Union be alongside national efforts? A strong one, one would be tempted to argue naturally. The fact remains that in terms of sovereignty, France must be able to maintain full control over its tools and policies. That is, of course, provided it has the means to do so.