Paris police given powers to search Metro passengers’ bags after St Petersburg bombing

Police in the French capital have been given new powers to search passengers' bags on the city's Metro and transport system if they have reason to be suspicious. The move has been taken after the bombing in St Petersburg this week.

Paris police given powers to search Metro passengers' bags after St Petersburg bombing
Photo: AFP

Paris police boosted security on the city's transport system in the light of Monday's terror attack on the St Petersburg Metro system that left 14 dead and over 40 injured.

Some 140 extra gendarmes military police were deployed on the network, to reassure the capital's commuters.

Another move taken by police chief Michel Cadot was to allow officers to search passengers' bags if they have reason to be suspicious, whether its on Metro or RER lines, or in stations.

Cadot said the measure was taken at the request of the French government which had asked authorities in Paris to step up security measures.

Normally police must have a precise motivation or reason before they can search someone's bags, usually related to a crime that had been committed.

But from now on the police can control and search whoever they want, without having to justify it.

Police say the measure is taken regularly and must be renewed every 24 hours for as long as the police want to impose it. 

Paris has been on high alert for terror attacks since jihadist gunmen and bombers killed 130 people in November 2015.




Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro