Police given extended powers as Nice fights spiralling crime and drug trafficking

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (centre), accompanied by the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi (left) on July 25, 2020.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex (centre), accompanied by the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi (left) on July 25, 2020. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

As part of a concerted effort to tackle violence and insecurity in the French city of Nice, Prime Minister Jean Castex on Saturday announced a raft of so-called “proximity" measures that include an “experimental” extension of the municipal police powers.


Speaking at the Nice prefecture of police alongside Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, Castex said drug offences – on a national level – would be met with an on-the-spot fixed fine of 200 euros from the start of the school year.

In the weeks to come, some 60 new officers are to be deployed to Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, to fight crime and drug-trafficking in several troubled districts. Compensation, meanwhile, is to be paid to police officers stationed in the city for more than two years.

The announcement follows a shooting on Monday in front of a supermarket in Nice’s flashpoint district of Moulins, which was visited by the three ministers on Saturday morning.

In a separate development Saturday, a young man was found dead in a cellar in a troubled area of ​​Nice – although the cause of death was unclear.

In his speech Castex admitted that “justice has been neglected for too long”, as he announced the creation of 150 additional jobs to "strengthen local criminal action for the repression of everyday delinquency".

The Prime Minister also promised that resources would be redeployed for local justice and the daily police work.

In an interview with right-wing daily Le Figaro ahead of the Nice trip, Darmanin said France was witnessing a “crisis of authority” that needed to be reaffirmed and corrected. “We must stop the enslavement of a certain part of society,” he said, promising to "bend those who want to bend the republic".

Meanwhile Nice mayor Christian Estrosi, who is from the right-wing Les Républicains party and is a vocal supporter of the new measures, himself announced the upcoming recruitment of 80 additional municipal police officers in Nice.


(with Wires)

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning