New police ‘incivility brigade’ hits Paris streets armed with tear gas and batons
Paris has deployed officers armed with tear gas and batons as part of an 1,800-strong ‘incivility brigade’ to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The town hall said Parisians had hung on to their dirty habits despite several awareness campaigns so it had no choice but to enforce fines.
The new uniformed officers will hand out €68 penalties for offences including littering, spitting and leaving behind dog poo.
The force, which is run by the ‘prevention, security and protection division’ (DPSP), replaces a group of city officers.
Around 320 mobile policemen will roam the capital at all hours seven days a week.
Philippe Goujon, the deputy mayor of the 15th arrondissement, said the restructuring was needed so regular police can focus on more serious issues, such as terrorism.
He told Le Parisien newspaper: ‘We know that the police can’t afford to be working on community issues as well as on keeping us safe.’
Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor in charge of public services, explained that ‘mere prevention’ had not stopped people misbehaving.
‘After a certain amount of times, you have to resort to handing out fines,’ he told BFM TV.
Other ‘incivilities’ that could attract fines include rubbish dumping, public urination, and excessive noise levels at night.
One resident, 70-year-old Jacqueline from the popular 19th arrondissement, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement.
‘To have clean pavements will be a tall order but sometimes it’s just so dirty that it’s got to be good news,’ she told Le Parisien.
The City of Light has acquired a reputation for uncleanliness.
In March, a group of Japanese tour operators revealed it planned to send staff to clean up rubbish around the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero gardens.