Tourists coming to Paris with heads full of dazzling images of the City of Light, capital of fashion and all things elegant and refined, can sometimes be a bit shocked by the reality of the city.
Cigarettes casually tossed onto the sidewalk, piles of dog poo on pavements, and drunken people urinating in the streets late at night are unfortunately common sights.
But Mayor Anne Hidalgo is aiming for Paris to clean up its act, not least considering the use of public space in the city has been on the rise since 2000, thanks in part to the development of the banks of the River Seine and the canals.
On October 1st of 2015 the city started giving out fines of €68 for tossing cigarette butts (with more than 2,000 already handed out), but now Paris is going even further, upping the number of city officers that can write up tickets for daily infractions or “incivilities”.
Apart from tossing cigarettes in the street, these “incivilities” include unauthorized garbage dumping, public urination, not cleaning up after your dog and noise levels at night, to name a few.
The anti-incivility brigade
This new “anti-incivility brigade” comprising of 1,900 officers, will replace the Prevention and Protection Direction (DPP) which was previously in charge. 1,200 officers will come from the current DPP, but the other 700 officers won’t necessarily be new recruits.
Instead, there will be a shuffling-around of officers from different city services such as parks and gardens and the cleanliness division, to make up the rest of this new unit.
They’ll hire 90 new recruits to fill the remaining spots.
These new officers will all be in uniform and some will be armed with batons and tear gas.
Some 320 officers will be part of a “mobile brigade” that will roam the whole capital 24/7.
Colombe Brossel, security adjoint, said at the conseil de Paris that this special brigade is absolutely necessary.
“This partitioning of enforcement officers is ineffective – there are not enough of them, especially during the evenings, at night, and on weekends,” he said.
Another source in the Mayor’s office added: “Up until now, the cleanliness brigade had barely 100 agents, so around two to six people per arrondissement. This brigade will greatly increase the capacity to give out tickets.”
In other words, Parisians, you really should think twice before throwing that cigarette…