French police gain more rights to use weapons in self-defense

French police gain more rights to use weapons in self-defense
The French Parliament has approved a bill which relaxes self-defense restraints on police officers, stiffens penalties for contempt of law enforcement, and allows anonymity of investigators.

The public security bill was passed by the Senate, the upper chamber of the French parliament, on Thursday, according to a statement on their website

Municipal police officers will be permitted to use their weapons “in cases of absolute necessity,” when “armed persons threaten their lives or their physical integrity or those of others,” the text states.

The full statement from the Senate is yet to come. French media, however, which has viewed the documents, reported that the law also relaxes restraints on police officers acting in self-defense.

Earlier rules on the use of force made no mention of self-defense. According to the code of ethics from 2014, weapons were to be used “only in case of absolute necessity.”

20 Minutes newspaper, which saw the full text of the document, states that there will be harsher penalties for insulting police officers. Penalties for contempt of law enforcement will be one year in prison and a fine of €15,000 ($16,000). Also, punishment for refusing to comply also rose to one year in prison and a €7,000 fine. 

Finally, as is already the case with counterterrorism operations, it will now be possible for investigators to remain anonymous in certain activities in order to protect them and their families.
French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux welcomed the new law, saying: “the result of a constructive debate, appeased, and animated by the general interest.”

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These measures come after recent protests against police violence in France. Clashes between police and protesters have entered the second week in the suburbs of Paris over the alleged rape of a young man by a police officer.

Unrest began after the 22-year-old man claimed he was beaten and raped with a baton when four police officers stopped him to check his ID in the Paris suburb, Aulnay-sous-Bois, in Seine-Saint-Denis.