French beach police to be armed this summer
One hundred armed police officers out of the 300 currently on duty to protect France’s beaches will be armed this summer in order to respond to potential terrorist attacks and to defend themselves.
The decision to arm the police follows the shooting of two police officers in suburb of Paris earlier this month.
"We have to give those police that are protecting our beaches some way of defending themselves given that they are clearly identified is police by badges on their tee-shirts," a police spokesman said.
The measure is also designed to counter attacks on beach resorts like the one on the attack on the resort of Sousse in Tunisia last year when 38 tourists were killed.
Until now, police officers on patrol on beaches have been armed with police batons and handcuffs, which are kept in the look-out posts.
However in the future, the head of police patrolling a given beach along with his deputy head will be allowed carry guns that will be attached to their waist.
France is still under a state of emergency following November's suicide bombings and shootings in Paris that left 130 people dead and were claimed by the Islamic State group.
Experts said jihadists could aim for areas with minimal security protection like the ongoing Euro 2016 competition, or beaches.
"You protect 1,000 targets, so it's the 1,001st target that will be hit," said Pascal Boniface, of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations in Paris.
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