Inquiry over French cops’ ‘apéritifs on the job’

Police in the town of Cogolin in south-eastern France are being investigated over claims they regularly enjoy sinking a few apéritifs whilst working. The cops' drinking habits only emerged after their chief was caught drunk-driving in his patrol car without a license earlier this summer.

Inquiry over French cops' 'apéritifs on the job'
Drinking on the job? Cops in the south-eastern French town of Cogolin stand accused of "losing control" and having too many aperatifs while at work. File photo: Rolye/Flickr

The Inspection Générale de la police nationale (IGPN), France’s internal police investigation unit, has opened an inquiry into alleged widespread drinking on the job by cops in the town of Cogolin, in the department of Var, it was reported this week.

Several within the force have been accused of indulging too enthusiastically in that great French tradition – the 'apéritif', or 'apero' as it is called.

The officers' reported love of a drink only emerged when the department’s chief was pulled over in mid-June during a routine traffic stop, According to the local police officers’ union, SNPM-FO.

He was found to be driving his patrol car without proper identification, and when tested, had a blood-alcohol beyond the legal limit.

This revelation, however, has proven only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the misdeeds of municipal police in the town of Cogolin.

“Everything seems to be an excuse for organising a drink; the swearing in of a new officer, local festivals, and so on,” a representative from the local SNPM-FO union told regional daily Var Matin.

“They have an apéritif on Tuesday, then on Friday, and then on Saturday morning,” the union rep said, adding his voice to widespread claims that the police department in the town is out of control and has lost the respect of the people of Cogolin.

The local cops, however, appear not to be entirely unified in their alleged proclivity for partying.

The officer in charge of the department’s night-time division is also being investigated by the IGPN for allegedly engaging in secret video surveillance of his underlings within the forces of law and order in Cogolin.

Both he, and the chief of police, are out on sick leave, though neither has been suspended during the internal investigation, according to Var Matin.

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Brit’s ‘quiet pint’ ends 800km away in Paris

When Luke Harding from Manchester went for a quiet pint with his mate, he only intended to go for "one drink", but he somehow woke up 800 km away in a toilet in Paris, after an epic night out that has taken the web by storm.

Brit's 'quiet pint' ends 800km away in Paris
“The next thing I know I’m in a toilet in Paris...and I thought 'Jesus Christ, what have I done?'" Photo: @Oliver_Kerr / Twitter/ Screengrab

It starts, like many a good story, with a quiet pint.

But 19-year-old Luke Harding could never have predicted that his “one drink” with a friend after work in Manchester last Saturday, would end at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and bring him overnight internet stardom.

One or two quiet ones turned into a foray to Tokyo Project nightclub in Oldham for sheet-metal worker Harding and his pal.

After what he told Manchester's Key 103 radio was a “bog standard night out” there, however, the intrepid traveller found himself “a bit bored” and looking for some more adventure.

Apparently forced to accept his fate, Harding got in a taxi and headed home at around 2.30 am.

SEE ALSO: Drunk French friends take llama on a late-night tram ride

It could have all ended as another damp squib of a Saturday night, if Harding hadn’t had his mobile phone switched on.

While in the taxi, he got an alert from an app that advertised cheap flights to Paris. Inspired, he ordered the cab driver to bring him to Manchester airport, told him he was a junior doctor on his way to a conference, and used his debit card to book a flight.

Doing his finest impression of a sober medic, Harding checked in for his 6am flight, tweeted a photo of the plane to his friends, and promptly fell asleep as soon as he got on board.

“The next thing I know I’m in a toilet in Paris, waking up to the sound of a Frenchman taking a crap in the cubicle next to me,” he told Key 103.

"I thought, 'Jesus Christ, what have I done?'"

With news of his drunken odyssey fast spreading throughout Oldham and beyond, and with a day to kill before his return flight on Sunday evening, the no doubt badly hungover young Englishman decided to at least see what the City of Light had to offer.

And so it was that a “bog standard” Saturday evening in Lancashire, ended with Harding sharing selfies in front of the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, to the eternal amusement of his friends back home.

The story went viral in the following days, but the fallout has been mixed at best for Harding.

While he can revel in the thousands of messages of awe from his legions of new Twitter followers, the sheet metal-worker claims to have been fired by his employer, allegedly for spending too much time on the phone, talking to journalists.

In response to one of the many tweets hailing him as "an absolute hero" and calling for him to be given a knighthood, Harding replied: "My mum disagrees. Thinks I'm a pillock."