Macron promises extra night work allowance for French police

President Emmanuel Macron has promised a night work allowance for France's police force, after officers demanded greater government backing in the face of protests over claims of brutality and racism in their ranks.

Macron promises extra night work allowance for French police
Emmanuel Macron promised a budget of €10 million for police night shift work. Photo: AFP

On a surprise late-night visit to two specialised police units in Paris overnight Monday to Tuesday, Macron promised a budget of €10 million for officers who work at night, the interior ministry announced.

Night pay was among several demands police unions made at a meeting with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on July 20th, shortly after his controversial appointment in spite of a pending rape investigation.

Darmanin accompanied Macron on the visit, designed to show support for the demanding work of the police, the presidency said.

The special allowance sought to compensate for the “additional hardship associated with night work” accompanied by increased demand for police on the ground, added the ministry.

Police in France have been on high alert since a spate of terror attacks in 2015, and have also had to contend with near-weekly demonstrations by anti-government “yellow vests” since November 2018, and more recently countrywide anti-pension reform strikes.

READ ALSO 'It's a massacre' – One French police officer commits suicide every four days

But they have come under fire for incidents of alleged brutality in putting down the often-violent protests, with many civilian injuries reported from the use of rubber bullets and explosive stun grenades.

The deaths in custody of two men of African origin in separate incidents have also sparked widespread fury and protests against alleged racism.

READ ALSO Who is Adama Traore and why are there protests across France in his name?

Police have staged high-profile nocturnal protests against a perceived lack of support, symbolically placing their handcuffs on the ground.

The tensions were a factor in the replacement of former interior minister Christophe Castaner with Darmanin in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.

Macron last month defended the police, saying they “deserve public support and the recognition of the nation for their work”.

And Darmanin, in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper, spoke of the need to “stop the de-civilisation of a certain part of society”, adding: “We must reaffirm the authority of the state and not let anything pass.”

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Mayor of southern French town bans smoking in cars

The mayor of a town in southern France has banned smoking in cars in an attempt to limit forest fires - many of which are caused by carelessly discarded cigarette butts.

Mayor of southern French town bans smoking in cars

With France facing a hot, dry summer, some areas have already been hit by wildfires, while many others in the south of the country are on a high alert.

One of the major causes of the devastating fires is carelessly discarded cigarette butts, so the mayor of the commune of Langlade in the Gard département in south east France, has enacted a special decree banning smoking.

Smoking will be banned in a number of outdoor spaces that do not have facilities, including the town’s soccer stadium, shooting range, archery range, tennis courts – and also bans drivers from smoking in their cars. The decree is in force through the whole of the commune of Langlade.

The decree runs until July 31st and offenders risk a €15 fine – although local authorities told the Gazette de Nîmes that their main priority is raising awareness of the risk of fire from smoking, rather than handing out fines.

The Gard département has already been hit by a wildfire that destroyed several hundred acres, and firefighters have warned that the south of the country is ‘like a tinderbox’ because of the unusually early heatwave and drought that has left land parched.

READ ALSO What to do if you see a wildfire

In France smoking is banned in enclosed public spaces, but is legal in outdoor spaces such as open-air sports grounds and on the outdoor terraces of bars and cafés.

Smoking in a private vehicle is legal, as long as there are no young children in the car. Smoking while driving is not explicitly banned, but drivers can be fined if they are not in proper control of the vehicle.