France to give all police body cameras ‘to protect public’

France’s interior minister believes the move will protect both the police and the public.

France to give all police body cameras 'to protect public'
Photo: AFP

Bernard Cazeneuve wants all police out on patrol to wear body cameras or “cameras-pedestrian” that will be able to film police operations live.

The cameras will be part of an officer's uniform and be placed somewhere on the body, whether on the belt or around the neck.

Around 1,900 are already in use in France, in high crime areas of towns and cities after they were launched on an experimental basis in 2012.

But the minister wants all officers to be equipped with them in future.  

“This would be a guarantee for citizens as well as for the police,” said Cazeneuve, who was presented with a mini-camera on Friday as he opened a new police station in Mureaux, near Paris.

He said the cameras acted as “protector” and a “calming tool” and could help develop better relations between the police and the public.

If the police and the public know they are being filmed it may persuade people to act differently.

A recent incident when a policeman was seen punching a student protester caused outrage and led to further trouble as well as landing the officer in hot water.

That incident was caught on amateur mobile phone footage (below) and gathered over 2 million hits. But perhaps the officer would have restrained himself if he had known his actions were being filmed live with his own camera.

Up to this point the cameras are used for operations in particularly sensitive areas, but under law police are not allowed to use them when entering private property.

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Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”