“France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that BAC officers would now be toting similar guns and armor as the country’s special intervention forces,” news.vice.com reports, “including assault rifles, ballistic shields, thicker bulletproof vests, and bulletproof helmets.” We’re talking an initial deployment of 204 H&K G36 sub-guns. Yes, but — what of allowing free French citizens to arm themselves? You are joking, yes? Fear not Frenchmen, le government has a plan . . .
As well as bigger guns and better protective gear, BAC officers may soon be getting a new fleet of vehicles, equipped with “secure trunks” to stash their new weapons . . .
Cazeneuve also announced the government would recruit an extra 550 officers to be deployed alongside the monitoring and intervention units of the Gendarmerie, a unit of the army that carries out policing duties.
“The deployment will start soon, and will continue all through 2016,” a spokesperson for the Gendarmerie told VICE News, declining to give any further information on the deployment of the extra staff.
According to French daily Le Figaro, these heavily armed “supergendarmes” will be able to intervene anywhere in the country “within 20 minutes” of receiving a call. In a crisis, they would be charged with containing the threat until the elite RAID and BRI units show up.
Cazeneuve said that authorities were working on a plan to better coordinate these separate intervention units. “The security of France is at stake,” he said.
Vive la France! Vive la Liberté! Oh wait . . . the country’s still under emergency orders allowing warrantless search and indefinite detainment. Well, as they say in France, lorsque les secondes comptent, la police est à seulement vingt minutes loin. And rest assured that the principle of self-defense is very much on France’s mind.
Another key factor, according to [German sociologist Fabien] Jobard, is the debate surrounding the legal definition of self-defense, which was sparked by the January 2015 attacks. Right now, French police officers can open fire only to defend themselves. “If this notion is relaxed, then some of these fears may be justified,” he noted.
See? Nothing to worry about.