French police unions threaten to stop enforcing lockdown as first gendarme dies from coronavirus

French police unions threaten to stop enforcing lockdown as first gendarme dies from coronavirus
Illustration photo: AFP
A French gendarme has died from the coronavirus, becoming the first officer to succumb to the virus. It comes as French unions threaten to stop enforcing lockdown measures unless they are given more protective equipment.

French media reported that the 51-year-old officer died in his home in Val-de-Marne in the greater Paris region on Wednesday morning.

The death follows that of five French medics who have died from the illness – all of whom were working in the eastern part of the country that has been worst affected by the epidemic.

READ ALSO Where in France is worst affected by coronavirus?

French TV channel BFM reported that the officer had not been in contact with the public and it is not known at this stage how the man,  a married father-of-three, contracted the virus. 

But the death comes at a sensitive time with police unions threatening to stop enforcing lockdown measures unless they are given more protective equipment.

There are 100,000 police officers in France who are on the frontline of policing the lockdown, operating roadblocks and stopping people in the street to check they have the necessary form to be out of their homes.

READ ALSO These are the rules of lockdown in France

A decision from the Interior Ministry to divert available stocks of protective face masks to healthcare workers has angered police unions, who say their members need protection too.

A joint statement from France's policing unions called on the Interior Ministry to better protect frontline officers and said that their members could refuse to continue to police the lockdown if their urgent appeal was not heard.

French TV channel BFM reported that the officer had not been in contact with the public and it is not known at this stage how the man,  a married father-of-three, contracted the virus. 


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  1. “A decision from the Interior Ministry to divert available stocks of protective face masks to healthcare workers”
    Divert from where? Were the stocks originally allocated to the police? The final paragraph is also repetitive. I appreciate The Local updating us promptly during this difficult time, but we rely on accurate information and I believe better editing and proofreading are often warranted.

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