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The organisation and
management of police services
June 2011
of the
Public Thematic Report
his summary is designed to aid the understanding and use of
the Cour des Comptes report.
Only the report is legally binding on the Cour des Comptes.
The responses of government departments, councils and other
organisations concerned are appended to the report.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The management of police services
. . . . . . . . . . .
The challenge of diminishing resources
. . . . . . . .
The constraints restricting the management
of human resources
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The necessary organisational reforms . . . . . . . . . .
The expanding role of municipal police forces
. . . .
CCTV surveillance of public thoroughfares . . . . . . .
General conclusions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
he preservation of public safety is primarily the responsibility of the State,
which maintains two forces having this aim as part of their mission. These are
the Police Nationale, established mainly in towns with a population of greater than
twenty thousand, and the Gendarmerie Nationale, who cover the country in two sepa-
rate zones of operation.
Local authorities are becoming more and more involved, especially in smaller towns
(communes), with the development of municipal police forces and CCTV monitoring
of public thoroughfares.
Faced with a rising crime rate, the State increased the allocation of budgetary, tech-
nological and manpower resources devoted to policing during the period 2000 to 2009.
However, statistics published by the Ministry of the Interior show that the results of
this renewed attack on crime have been mixed, with a fall in crimes against property
being matched by a corresponding increase in crimes against the person.
Since 2009, the target of stabilising government spending has provided greater
challenges, as the requirement for greater effectiveness in combating crime must now be
achieved within the context of reducing resources and manpower in the police forces and
Gendarmerie units, while at the same time overall budgets are increasing due to rising
personnel costs.
In such a situation, the organisation and management of police services is becom-
ing an increasingly important and determining factor. It is for this reason that the Cour
des Comptes and its regional chambers have decided to carry out a dedicated investiga-
tion, their first into the field of policing.
Rather than attempting to provide a full assessment of policing policy, the investi-
gation focused on a number of key questions relating to the management and organi-
sation of the police services through inspections carried out in fifteen départements and
around fifty communes located in the Ile-de-France, Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte
d’Azure and Languedoc-Roussillon regions, together with the relevant central depart-
ments of the Ministry of the Interior.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
The management of
police services
Management by
objectives and
The ‘culture of results’ imposed on
the operation of police services in 2002
has resulted in a system of management
by objectives expressed in terms of
crime statistics.
In the Police Nationale, the annual
instructions issued by the Central
Directorate of Public Safety (Directeur
Central de la Sécurité Publique - DCSP)
and addressed to the directorates in the
départements (DDSP) reveal a desire
for an increasingly centralised system of
management based each year on ever
more precise and detailed objectives,
together with a battery of powers to
enable them to be achieved. In 2010, the
DDSPs were required to carry out no
less than 48 ‘priority’ actions. Their
scope for initiative was therefore con-
siderably restricted.
In comparison, the regional com-
manders in the Gendarmerie enjoyed
significantly more decentralised man-
agement powers. Another difference
between the Police Nationale and the
Gendarmerie was that the annual objec-
tives for the Gendarmerie in each
département took account of the link
between the expected results and the
progression in resources.
Distortions arising
from an excessively
The annual and monthly statistics
taken from the Etat 4001 statistical
report have also been used as both a
measure of crime levels and as a basis
for determining objectives for the vari-
ous police services and for assessing
their effectiveness. They have become a
management tool to be applied to local
police services. Their increasing applica-
tion to the Police Nationale has led the
Gendarmerie to increase their use of
these indicator figures. However, they
tend to have a greater recognition of the
limits of such a statistical approach in
the fight against crime.
The Etat 4001 data contains many
omissions and inaccuracies, and the
analysis of the data presents a number
of difficulties as has been reported by
several expert groups including the
Cour des Comptes
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
The management
of police services
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
National Supervisory Body on Crime
and Punishment (Observatoire National
de la Délinquance et des Réponses
Pénales - ONDRP). The collected gen-
eral crime statistics include all recorded
offences and, along with a similar collec-
tion of data relating to crimes against
the person, they constitute the main
management indicator for the police
services. However, these statistics cover
such a wide range of offences that their
actual significance is relatively minor. In
addition, the recorded statistics can vary
considerably when the methods of
counting offences are changed. For
example, in 2009, a return to rising gen-
eral crime levels was largely prevented
by the decision of the police services to
exclude crimes involving the fraudulent
use of bank card details in internet
In February 2010, a circular from
the Ministry of the Interior prohibited
further use of the collected general
crime and crime against the person sta-
Henceforward, changes in crime levels
should be determined from four more
homogeneous sets of collected data;
crime against property, crime against the
person, economic and financial crime,
and crime brought to light through the
actions of the police forces themselves.
This reform constitutes real, if limited,
progress, as the information system
remains based on the Etat 4001 data.
The combat against drug trafficking,
in which the DDSPs were not heavily
involved prior to 2010, illustrates the
failings of statistical management of the
police services. A large part of their
actions in this area involved the arrest of
drug users, without any significant
improvements in the number of arrests
for dealing or trafficking. These arrests
were seen as a useful parameter in
improving the overall crime clear-up
rate. Under this policy, between 2002
and 2009, the number of offences
recorded by the DDSPs increased by
76% in respect of simple drug use, 30%
in respect of use and dealing, but by
only 8% in respect of trafficking. The
increases in the numbers of arrests and
detentions in each category were 91%,
42% and 3% respectively.
A lack of clarity
relating to the
effectiveness of the
police services
Data from the Ministry of the
Interior shows that crimes against prop-
erty in 2010 (2 184 460 reported
offences) had fallen by 28.6% since
2002. However, the ‘victimhood ’ stud-
ies carried out by the ONDRP put this
in perspective. The number of crimes
against the person had increased by
21.2% over the same period.
Between 2002 and 2009, the overall
reduction in crime recorded in the statis-
tics was mainly due to spectacular falls
in two major categories of offences; car
The management
of police services
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
crime and vandalism. In the opinion of
a majority of analysts, these falls were
primarily due to improvements in the
anti-theft systems fitted by automobile
manufacturers, and an increase in the
number of security systems installed in
public and private spaces (car parks, rail-
way stations, etc.).
The changes in recorded crime rates
were remarkably similar in areas under
the supervision of both the police and
the Gendarmerie, despite differences in
the economic, social and housing char-
acteristics of these areas. However, a
number of differences were revealed,
including ‘ simple’ robberies involving
individuals in public or private spaces,
which rose significantly in Gendarmerie
areas and fell in Police areas, a factor
that senior managers in both forces have
been unable to explain.
In general, these managers are rarely
able to correlate changes in the statistics
for the main categories of offences with
the actions implemented by their
respective forces.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
Cour des Comptes
The challenge
of diminishing resources
2002-2010: A rise in
staffing levels fol-
lowed by an equal
As a result of the law on the future
direction of internal policing (Loi
d’orientation et de Programmation sur
la Sécurité Intérieure - LOPSI) passed in
2002, the DDSPs in mainland France
have seen the number of police officers
rise by 2.1% on a like-for-like basis over
the period 2003-2009. The Ile-de France
region accounted for almost three quar-
ters of the rise in total established staff
numbers (police officers, administrators,
technicians and scientists) over the peri-
od 2003-2008, with over half of this
additional staff being recruited in the
département of Seine-St-Denis alone.
However, in the country as a whole,
this rise in total established staff num-
bers was not sufficient to compensate
for significant fall in the number of
police community support officers
(adjoints de sécurité - ADS). Total
staffing levels in the DDSPs fell by 2.3%
over the period 2003-2009.
The number of established staff
finally began to fall in 2010. In particu-
lar, the number of police officers fell to
50 928 by 1st January 2011, wiping out
almost half of the rise seen over the
period 2003-2009. Total staffing levels
in the DDSPs fell to 62 256, correspon-
ding to a fall of 5.3% since 1st January
2003. This trend downwards continued
in 2011. The government budget pre-
dicted that the Police Nationale would
lose 712 jobs and the Gendarmerie 96.
Cuts to operating
budgets (excluding
personnel costs)
Overall, expenditure on operations
and equipment by the DDSPs fell by
2.1% in 2008, remained stable in 2009,
and fell again by 25% in 2010. In some
areas, this contraction in expenditure
was achieved at the cost of a manifest
under-estimation of the needs of the
services at the start of the year, with the
initial budgetary allocations then being
The accelerated reduction in DDSP
operating resources has not been man-
aged adequately. Faced with the impos-
sibility of achieving any short-term
reductions in accommodation costs
such as rents and utility charges, the cuts
have been applied to the resources need-
ed for day-to-day operations, judicial
enquiries, the replacement of computer
systems and the maintenance of premis-
es, without making any assessment of
the impact of these cuts on the
The challenge
of diminishing resources
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
operational capabilities of the units
The Gendarmerie established a par-
tially decentralised system to manage
operational budgetary allocations on a
regional basis. However, the reduction
in budgets has severely restricted the
room for manoeuvre of the regional
and group commanders. Like the police,
the Gendarmerie has not assessed the
impact of these cuts on its operational
The keys to
adapting to the
new funding
The fight against crime now has to
be pursued with reduced staff and oper-
ational budgets, yet another argument
for optimising the management of
human resources and applying organisa-
tional reform.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
The constraints restricting
the management of human
The costly
organisation of
police working time
The complex rules for organising
working time, adopted to guarantee con-
tinuity of service, 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, have led to great rigidity in
team management, leaving little latitude
for local managers to respond to fluctu-
ations in activity.
Nearly half of all police officers
work a shift pattern and consequently
benefit from specific rights to rest peri-
ods. In addition, their working time is
reduced by an inflationary compensa-
tion scheme for overtime hours (duty
periods, call-outs, extra hours worked as
part of a shift, and on-call hours). These
rules, which apply across the Police
Nationale, but more specifically to
police officers, result in the officers
being compensated for their availability
with rest periods that are much longer
than the extra time they have had to
work. In practice, police officers find it
impossible to recover time owing to
them due to the requirements of the
service, resulting in large numbers of
accumulated hours being carried for-
ward. This stock of hours, which repre-
sented the equivalent of 6700 police
jobs at the end of 2009, constitutes an
effective carryover of expenditure to
the following year, resulting in a heavy
management constraint that the admin-
istration seems incapable of removing.
Changes with
An agreement dated 22nd October
2008 with one of the police officers’
unions removed the principle of the
‘indivisible hour’, according to which
any hour commenced had to be paid
for. However, it also reduced the length
of the working week by almost an hour,
which was paradoxically supposed to
increase the operational capabilities of
lower-ranking police officers. The estab-
lished staff concerned also received
substantial pay rises. However, the
Interior Ministry was unable to supply
the Cour des Comptes with any figures
for the number of jobs saved in a full
year as a result of these measures. It has
begun an awareness-raising initiative
among the directors of the départe-
ments aimed at rationalising the use of
on-call staff. The application of new
regulations covering the way in which
Cour des Comptes
The constraints restricting
the management of human resources
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
working hours are organised should
enable them to exercise tighter control
over hours given in lieu.
restricting police
officer activity
In 2009, 30% of the theoretical
potential of the police services (i.e. the
number of hours that could be worked
by the whole workforce) was unavailable
due to leave, rest periods, sickness and
other absences. Time spent in police sta-
tions on administrative or legal business
and operational or logistical support
accounted for 61% of the remaining
potential. The implementation of a plan
to replace police officers working on
strictly administrative tasks with admin-
istrative staff was happening slowly and
had not been completed. The prospects
for recruiting extra administrative staff
are now extremely limited due to a
reduction in the number of posts fund-
ed from the budget.
Activities under the heading of
‘presence’, such as guarding administra-
tive buildings, removing, escorting and
presenting prisoners, policing court
guarding prisoners in hospital, account-
ed for the equivalent of 3800 full-time
police officers. Locally, these peripheral
tasks are a major constraint on the man-
agement of services, particularly the
traffic units, as they remove operational
A continuing lack
of presence on the
The number of hours during which
police are present on public thorough-
fares (activities of traffic police and gen-
eral police) account on average for only
one third of the potential number of
hours available. The rate of presence on
public thoroughfares (i.e. the percentage
of the total number of police officers
engaged at any particular moment in
this type of activity) was 5.5% on aver-
age in 2009, and 6.3% in towns with a
population of more than 700,000.
Although these rates increased by 10%
between 2005 and 2009, their relatively
low levels have not prompted sufficient
corrective action by managers in the
Police Nationale.
The specific
of the Gendarmerie
In the Gendarmerie, regional com-
manders are able to exercise a certain
degree of discretion when optimising
the operational capabilities of their sub-
ordinate units. The principle of perma-
nent availability that applies to gen-
darmes, together with their military sta-
tus and the associated rules on rest and
The constraints restricting
the management of human resources
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
recovery time, enables the Gendarmerie
to mobilise extra personnel quickly as
needed under better controlled cost
conditions. The actual annual working
time of a gendarme (1796 hours in
2007) is greater than that of an equiva-
lent police officer engaged in general
policing, which varies depending on
their working time arrangements, of
between1435 hours on night shift rotas
and 1603 hours on weekly rotas in 2007.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
Cour des Comptes
The necessary
organisational reforms
A staffing
profile requiring
Despite a programme of corrective
actions begun in 2007, the geographic
distribution of personnel still retains a
between policing areas, with many either
under-staffed or over-staffed in relation
to their specific crime levels.
In particular, the provision of police
Gendarmerie in policing areas having
less than twenty thousand inhabitants
(i.e. where they are not required by law)
does not appear compatible with the
changes to the resources allocated to
those towns with the greatest exposure
to crime.
While almost a quarter of the staff
employed in the regions by the Police
Nationale are managed directly by the
Police Headquarters in Paris rather than
by the DCSP, they are allocated accord-
ing to a procedure that is different from
that used in the remainder of the coun-
try and which does not include any
rational assessment of needs.
In the Gendarmerie in the départe-
ments, the size of each unit is deter-
mined primarily by the size of the pop-
offences per gendarme therefore shows
a wide variation between départements,
indicating that the distribution of staff
could be improved.
Moreover, both the police and the
Gendarmerie in Paris and in the regions
regularly, or even permanently, use their
mobile units to carry out policing oper-
ations in support of local forces and
units specialising in these tasks. These
tasks occupy more of the time of these
units than that allocated to the mainte-
nance of public order. This results in
considerable extra costs associated with
the deployment and accommodation of
these mobile units, together with a
reduction in their general availability.
This appears to be incompatible with
their primary duty as reserve forces to
be called upon when necessary to main-
tain public order.
Difficult reforms are
often abandoned
The DCSP has begun to combine
some of its regional services at the dis-
trict level, including weekend station
staffing and the anti-crime squad (BAC).
However, this organisation has not
made much progress.
Some reforms have proved difficult
to implement due to inadequate prepa-
ration. The plan to deploy new units to
combat urban violence and support per-
sonnel in high-crime areas has either
been abandoned (compagnies de sécuri-
sation) or downsized (unités territoriales
The necessary
organisational reforms
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
de quartier). The establishment of an
intelligence service in each département
(SDIG) as part of the reform of police
intelligence services has also proved dif-
ficult due to a mismatch between the
staff employed and the tasks they are
required to perform.
In addition, no overall strategy has
yet been defined to rationalise the build-
ings occupied in each police area which
currently appear to be excessive.
Constraints due
to the buildings
occupied by the
The Gendarmerie in the départe-
ments has carried out a major reform of
its geographic structure with the estab-
lishment of groups of brigades so that a
larger proportion of the officers in each
unit can be allocated to outside duties
(general surveillance, judicial enquiries,
and intelligence gathering) rather than
remaining at base to deal with enquiries
from members of the public. However,
the service has not set up any reliable
system to assess the impact of this
reform on the quality of service provid-
ed to the public.
Some measures to adjust the geo-
graphic distribution by the creation or
disbanding of units continue to be taken
each year, but progress in this area is
always being impeded by a lack of
resources resulting from a buildings pol-
icy that is essentially restricted to the
maintenance of dilapidated existing
buildings. The low level of budgetary
funding allocated to the construction of
new barracks places the Gendarmerie in
a position of dependence on local
authorities and, in recent years, has led
the force to adopt more costly methods
of financing its buildings.
The need for
a new geographic
distribution of the
two forces
The geographic distinction between
the areas covered by the police and the
Gendarmerie is relatively static. The
establishment of municipal police
forces in Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux
in 2011 was intended to include an
exchange of policing areas between the
police and the Gendarmerie. The deci-
sion making process was made difficult
by problems in arriving at an equitable
geographic exchange between the two
Changes to the geographical areas
covered could well go further with the
Gendarmerie taking over the isolated
policing areas with less than twenty
thousand inhabitants currently covered
by the police and including them with
the rest of the département with an
associated saving in staffing costs. This
would result in a more effective use of
operational capability.
The necessary
organisational reforms
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
However, as was the case during the
first wave of reforms in 2003-2006,
such redeployments require both the
one-off creation of new posts and
expenditure on buildings and accommo-
dation. Achieving all these conditions at
once would be difficult at a time when
reductions in both personnel and budg-
ets are being applied. Given this lack of
budgetary room to manoeuvre, the
Ministry of the Interior appears to have
despite its potential for savings and effi-
ciency gains in the medium term.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
Cour des Comptes
The expanding role of
municipal police forces
A major development
Over the past twelve years or so, and
especially since the Law dated 15th
April 1999 on municipal police forces
was passed, the numbers of municipal
police forces and their associated staff
have continued to grow. Outside Paris
and the surrounding inner ring of
départements, there are only four towns
with populations of over fifty thousand
that do not have a municipal police
force. These are Brest, Le Mans, Saint-
Nazaire, and Arles. Confronted with a
real public need, town mayors have
made considerable efforts to respond to
this growing demand for effective polic-
ing. In January 2010, the number of
employees in municipal police forces
reached 19 370, compared with 14 300
in January 2002, a rise of 35%.
The growth in staffing levels in the
municipal police forces has been very
much greater than that in the centralised
police services over the period 2003-
2009. With an uneven geographic distri-
bution, local police services serving a
single commune or group of communes
have grown rapidly and now account for
25% of all junior grade police officers
and police community support officers
in areas under the responsibility of the
Police Nationale. In addition, they are
much more visible as their presence on
the street is significantly greater.
A wide range of
employment policies
The communes do not all approach
the wide range of tasks authorised
under the Law on municipal police
forces in the same way. The coordina-
tion agreements between the centralised
and municipal police forces have proved
to be flexible enough to adapt to the
wide range of different local situations.
The employment policies implemented
by the municipal police forces vary
widely from one commune to another,
in accordance with the wishes of the
elected local authorities. While many are
content to restrict themselves to admin-
istrative policing and crime prevention,
others have set themselves up as a real
alternative to the Police Nationale,
adopting modified versions of their
operating practices and objectives in the
fight against crime. In urban areas, for
example, arrests by municipal police
officers of criminals in the course of
committing a crime, with their subse-
quent transfer to the Police Nationale
have greatly increased.
In areas covered by the police, the
coordination policy tends to free the
centralised police services from tasks
such as general street surveillance,
allowing them to concentrate on target
their actions on the fight against crime.
The expanding role of
municipal police forces
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
The balance achieved in this way
acknowledges the transfer of local
policing under the authority of the
mayor and the priority given to actions
taken to clamp down on criminality by
the centralised police forces since the
advent of LOPSI in 2002. These
changes also mean that the conditions
under which the policies of the cen-
tralised police forces are implemented
depend to a degree on the wishes of the
elected local authority concerned.
A more in-depth
approach to
training required
The wide range of employment
policies practised by the municipal
police forces does not encourage a
requirement for professionally qualified
officers. The expansion and diversifica-
tion of the tasks being carried out by
enhanced initial and continuing training.
Many of the communes that are the
most active in the field of policing con-
sider that the initial training of junior
municipal police officers is inadequate
compared with that offered by the
Police Nationale. Current plans to
develop training are suffering from the
absence of any obligation to achieve a
minimum standard on completion of
the initial training, following recruit-
ment but prior to formal appointment
of the officer concerned. Many com-
munes are funding additional training
sessions that go beyond those required
by the regulations.
Finally, the actions of the municipal
police forces are suffering from a lack of
assessment and inspection.
Inequalities in the
financial support
provided by the
The budgets allocated by the com-
munes and groups of communes to
policing have grown considerably in
recent years. However, the financial sup-
port provided varies widely between
towns. These disparities reflect both the
budgetary capabilities of the communes
and the political choices made at a local
level. This applies particularly to the
employment policies of the municipal
police forces, crime prevention, and the
use of CCTV surveillance.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
Cour des Comptes
CCTV surveillance of
public thoroughfares
Rapid, but costly,
On the basis of data gathered by the
police and Gendarmerie, the Cour des
Comptes estimates that there were
around 10 000 CCTV cameras monitor-
ing public thoroughfares at the end of
2010. This figure excludes cameras
monitoring public buildings, public
open spaces and public transport vehi-
cles. Figures from the Ministry of the
Interior estimate the number to have
been 20 000 in 2008. In either case,
CCTV monitoring of public spaces is
no less developed in France than in
other industrialised countries, with the
exception of Great Britain where early
adoption and rapid growth has resulted
in a wide variety of different systems
being installed.
For several years, the installation of
CCTV surveillance systems in public
spaces by the communes has been a
government priority. In a period when
the number of police officers and gen-
darmes is being reduced, ‘CCTV polic-
ing’ is increasingly being presented as
one of the main resources to be
deployed in order to reduce the number
of offences and increase the crime clear-
up rate.
The government has instituted a
programme to triple the number of
CCTV cameras monitoring public thor-
oughfares over a three year period
For the local authorities, in the main
communes, this programme represents
an investment of at least € 300 million,
supported by a contribution from cen-
tral government via the Inter-ministerial
Interministériel de Prévention de la
Délinquance - FIPD), with an annual
operating cost estimated at a further €
300 million.
Effectiveness still to
be assessed
Given the costs to be incurred by
local authorities and central govern-
ment, it would have been preferable if
this accelerated plan for expanding
CCTV monitoring of public thorough-
fares have been preceded by an assess-
ment of its effectiveness based on a rig-
experts in the field.
A range of studies in other coun-
Australia and the USA, have failed to
provide a conclusive demonstration of
the effectiveness of CCTV monitoring
of public thoroughfares. The effective-
ness appears to depend on a number of
parameters, including the nature of the
area being monitored and the and the
types of offence being targeted. France
CCTV surveillance of
public thoroughfares
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
is notable for the almost total absence of
any scientific study in this area. Just one
study has been carried out by the
Ministry of the Interior, based mainly
the crime statistics recorded in Etat
results obtained and the methodology
used make it impossible to draw any reli-
able conclusions.
Irregularities in
installation and
The département prefects are failing
to adhere to the applicable law and reg-
ulations by authorising the installation
of CCTV systems to monitor public
thoroughfares without applying the reg-
ulations relating to the qualifications of
the personnel employed to view the
images. This practice encourages the
communes, especially those without a
municipal police force, to adopt a flexi-
ble policy in the selection of personnel,
often in breach of Article 10 of the Law
dated 21st January 1995 and the general
body of law governing the conduct of
local authorities.
Under their terms of reference, the
CCTV commissions in the départe-
ments (Commissions Départementales
de Vidéosurveillance) only carry put
formal checks on the compliance of
proposed projects with the applicable
laws and regulations. Neither do they
have the resources to carry out the
checks on the operation of CCTV sys-
tems provided for in the applicable law.
As a result, the compliance of any pro-
posed scheme and the reliability of the
authorisation process depends entirely
on the good faith of the proposer.
The Cour des Comptes and its
regional chambers have noted a lack of
professional qualifications among the
commune employees responsible for
operating their CCTV systems monitor-
ing public thoroughfares, especially
those viewing the images. The wide-
spread installation of these systems has
been encouraged without the establish-
ment of a suitable training programme
within local authorities to prepare
CCTV operators for a career that
requires both technical skills and com-
pliance with a range of specific ethical
The employees responsible for
viewing the images are not sworn in
unless they are also municipal police
officers, which is often not the case. In
many cases, they have received no spe-
cific training for the task.
General conclusions
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
he organisation and management of police forces must be included as part of
the difficult challenge currently facing local and central government in relation
to policing; how to improve the effectiveness of the fight against crime while still play-
ing a full part in the effort to control the growth in public spending.
Progress in this area depends on the management of the police forces. The statisti-
cal tools used to measure crime levels are still less than perfect. In addition, the system
of management by objectives is hampered by a lack of research into the necessarily com-
plex patterns of cause and effect relationships between the actions implemented by the
various police services and changes in offending rates for a specific offence. This lack of
understanding limits the effectiveness of management by performance indicators alone.
Indeed, such a management system can itself introduce distortions, as has been the case
in the combat against drug trafficking. Offending trends cannot be summarised by a
single overall indicator that gives the same weight to minor offences and serious crimes.
Changes made to adapt to the new budgetary regime constitute an essential con-
straint, the effects of which have become increasingly apparent over the past two years.
The number of police officers and gendarmes rose sharply as a result of the law on the
future direction of internal policing (LOPSI) passed on the 29th August 2002, but
has fallen again since 2009. The number was lower in 2010 than it was in 2006, but
has since recovered to reach its 2002 level in 2011. However, the number of local
police officers, including municipal police officers, has grown continuously to a level that
today accounts for one quarter of all police officers in the areas under the responsibili-
ty of the Police Nationale, excluding Paris and its inner ring of départements.
The geographic distribution of officers across all police services needs to be better
correlated with population sizes and measured crime levels. The level of public policing
would appear to be inadequate in some areas and excessive in others. In some com-
munes, the elected local authority has decided to support the police with other municipal
employees carrying out complementary or similar tasks. All these disparities have a ten-
dency to compromise the equality of citizens in relation to their right to live in safety.
The local management of the Police Nationale is strongly constrained by the organ-
isation of the services, working time of the officers, and even the allocation of these
officers to specific policing areas, as these decisions are often taken centrally in Paris.
Local police service managers, responsible to the prefect, have little room for manoeu-
vre, and this has been further reduced by the budgetary cuts imposed since 2009. The
Gendarmerie Nationale is similarly affected. The optimisation of operational capabil-
ities under this new budgetary regime needs to be considered, following as it does a series
of relatively unrestrictive budgets between 2003 and 2007.
Significant room for manoeuvre could be achieved by redeploying the police forces
and gendarmerie on a geographical basis, providing that the essential building changes
could be made and that a degree of temporary overmanning could be accepted in order
General conclusions
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
to overcome the reservations of the personnel involved and the elected local authorities.
The resources needed for this redeployment could be found by imposing a stronger con-
trol on the growth in salary expenses than that which has prevailed in the past few
The budgets allocated by the communes and groups of communes to policing and
crime prevention have grown considerably in recent years. The growth in municipal
police forces has been characterised by a wide variation in employment policies. It
requires a strengthening of the professional qualifications of personnel, in particular
by devoting a greater effort to training.
Encouraged by central government, the increasing reliance on CCTV monitoring
of public thoroughfares should not be seen as a substitute for action on the part of the
police services. It should be seen as complementary to these actions. The financial bur-
den and the management of these systems falls mainly on the communes. The deploy-
ment and use of these systems is poorly controlled by the government, and is often in
breach of the relevant laws. The absence of any rigorous assessment of the effective-
ness of CCTV monitoring of public thoroughfares in France is a major failing, espe-
cially in light of the significant public expenditure involved.
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
The management of police
Merge the data from the crime
recording database used by the
Ministry of the Interior with that from
the statistical tool used by the Ministry
of Justice in order to make a link
between the crime clear-up rates
reported by the police services and
gendarmerie units and their progress
through the judicial system;
Continue the programme of
modifications to the crime recording
system so that offences are counted by
reference to the place at which the
offence was committed rather than the
place at which it was reported;
Limit the objectives assigned to
local managers on the basis of crime
statistics to overall totals or individual
crime categories that are homogenous
and consistent;
National Supervisory Body on Crime
and Punishment (ONDRP) develop
an analysis of the relationship between
changes in the crime statistics and
actions carried out by the various
police services.
The challenge of diminishing
In both the police services and
the gendarmerie, anticipate the impact
of reductions in operating and equip-
ment budgets on the operational activ-
ities of the service in order to adapt
their objectives to suit.
The constraints restricting the
management of human resources
Continue to make local DCSP
managers aware of the need to impose
stricter controls on the allocation of
compensatory rest hours and to ratio-
nalise the use of on-call staff;
Set objectives for them covering
several years to increase the presence
of police officers on the street;
Before making any changes to
the organisation of the work of police
officers, carry out studies into the
impact on costs and the advantages in
terms of the availability of staff and
changes in salary expenditure, and
continue to monitor the effects after
the changes have been made.
The necessary organisational
Accelerate the process of rebal-
ancing manpower by eliminating situa-
tions of over or undermanning with
respect to the level of crime;
Establish a method for deter-
mining the staffing requirements of
the Paris prefecture of police based on
that applied to the CSPs by the EDFA,
while taking full account of the specif-
of the Public Thematic Report by the Cour des Comptes
ic policing requirements of Paris as a
capital city;
Reduce the differences between
départements in relation to the distri-
bution of Gendarmerie base unit staff
with regard to the crime rate;
Assess the cost and availability
implications of the large proportion of
permanent policing duties allocated to
the mobile forces;
In the regional police services,
begin a process of rationalisation of
the network of secondary police sta-
tions and public access points by set-
ting objective criteria for the opening
and occupation of premises as a func-
tion of service activity;
Relaunch the process of rede-
ployment between the areas covered
by the police and the Gendarmerie,
with the specific aim of transferring
‘isolated’ communes within the CSP
and with less than twenty thousand
inhabitant to the latter.
The expanding role of munici-
pal police forces
On completion of the initial
training of municipal police officers,
send the training certificate issued by
the CNFPT to the Prefect rather than
the Mayor so that an official authorisa-
tion may be issued;
Establish an obligation to pro-
vide continuous training on the direc-
tors of municipal police forces in the
same way as is required for other man-
agers in the system;
Consider a new system for the
inspection of municipal police forces
by the Ministry of the Interior that is
more suited to the importance of their
task and the growth in the number of
their officers.
The rise in CCTV surveillance
Establish a system to report the
exact status of the deployment of
CCTV surveillance by local authorities
that distinguishes between cameras
those monitoring local authority build-
ings, road traffic management cameras,
and cameras installed in facilities that
are open to the public and which have
a view of a public thoroughfare;
CCTV surveillance of public thor-
oughfares in the prevention and clear-
up of crime using a rigorous method-
researchers and experts in the field;
Establish a suitable organisation
to ensure that that all Enquiry after
Identification – CREI) reports and
STIC-FCE reports record the fact that
an arrest has been made during the
course of committing the offence or
that the culprit has been identified by
means of CCTV surveillance of a
public thoroughfare in accordance
with a proposal by the INHESJ in its
of the Public Thematic Report by the
Cour des Comptes
2008 report on the criteria for the
effectiveness and assessment of CCTV
surveillance systems;
Establish a similar organisation
in the Gendarmerie Nationale;
In all prefectorial decrees autho-
rising the installation of systems for
the CCTV surveillance of public thor-
oughfares, include a list of the names,
or at least job titles, of all those autho-
rised to view the images, and ensure
that this list is kept up to date as per-
sonnel move within the services
In the requirements specified in
the prefectorial authorisation decree,
include an obligation on the commune
concerned to require all personnel
responsible for operating these sys-
tems to undergo a programme of
training in accordance with a regulato-
ry specification;
Encourage the communes to
adopt their own internal regulatory
framework within the CSU to include a
number of obligatory clauses covering
such important points as the names of
employees authorised to enter the rele-
vant premises, operators authorised to
view the images on behalf of a CID
officer, or technicians authorised to
alter the configuration of the system
(automatic window masking).