Motorway police aren’t always the most popular of public servants, but one group of officers might have endeared themselves to French motorists, after taking the law into their own hands by covering up speed cameras near the city of Lyon.
The officers' vigilante action was featured on a TV documentary by TF1 in which they said they were frustrated by a "a road safety system based on financial gain”, as reported by French daily Le Parisien on Monday.
“You’d think we were tax-collectors for the treasury department,” said one of the three officers, who drove around taping black plastic bags over roadside speed radars.
However their bosses were certainly not impressed and the three suspects appeared before an internal hearing on Tuesday, as part of an official investigation.
The inquiry is being led by the IGPN – France’s Inspector-General of the National Police – in the department of Ain, close to Lyon.
A leading motorists’ rights group has warned that the actions of the police officers is part of a wider pattern of discontent among “over-taxed, over-tolled and over-regulated” motorists in France.
“These were the actions of people who have had enough. They are police officers – it should not be their function [to collect revenue in the form of speeding tickets]” Pierre Chasseray, head of the organization ’40 millions d’automobilistes’, told The Local on Tuesday.
“I cannot support what the police officers did, but I certainly understand it,” he added.