Photo: Frog and Onion via flickr
The French police force has been hit with an unusual amount of scandals recently.
- First, there’s the case involving Bernard Squarcini, the head of the French secret service. It’s alleged that Squarcini was illegally spying on Le Monde journalists under the orders of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande has called for Squarcini to step down.
- Then there’s the curious case of Jean-Christophe Lagarde. Lagarde had been hoping to become head of security when Dominique Strauss Kahn became president. Obviously that didn’t happen, and now his method of gaining favour — organising orgies flying prostitutes to New York — look a little stupid.
- Finally, there’s the case of Lyon’s supercop Michel Neyret. Handsome and well-coiffed, Neyret had long been credited for curbing the crime problem in the second largest French city. Unfortunately it appears he had pretty deep links to drug dealers and corruption himself.
Perhaps these are just three unconnected incidents that happened to come out within a few weeks of each other. Regardless, to the public its hard not to link the scandals.
And what’s more, it’s easy to link them politically.
In an interview with France24, Christian Mouhanna, a specialist in French police and justice at the Centre for Sociological Research on Law and Criminal Justice Institutions (CESDIP), says that even though France has had police corruption scandals before, these could have particular implications before next years election.
“The Squarcini affair is different from the other recent police scandals, because it is a case of the police being used presumably to protect the the president and his ministers from journalists trying to do investigative work. So it’s not just bad for the police’s image, it’s also bad for President Sarkozy.”
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