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Police: More and more accidental firing

A police note notes an increase in the use of firearms in 2017 and is concerned about the improper control of weapons by officers.

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Police: More and more accidental firing
"Nothing to report." It is, in essence, what General Inspectorate of National Police (IGPN), police force, said at its annual press conference on 27 September on evolution of use of firearms. She answered a question about consequences of reform of fire-opening rules in 2017 and arrival of new weapons to deal with terrorist threat.

In fact, in an internal note, revealed by TF1 and whose world has become aware, IGPN makes a completely different statement. It refers to "a significant increase in use of firearms", which began at end of year 2016, and continues over first six months of year.

In first half of year, 192 uses of weapons were reported by police, compared to 116 in first half of 2016, an increase of 39.58%. How to interpret this phenomenon?

At 95 occasions, in almost one in two cases, weapon was used against a moving vehicle. "We are in a context of terrorist threat and police have become targets," analyses Frédéric Lamptey, Deputy secretary general of Alliance (First union of peacekeepers). The vehicle that rushes you is not same as yesterday. This situation also echoes so-called ' Public Security ' act, which was voted at beginning of 2017 and which modifies rules on use of weapons. In particular, it provides, as was already case for police, that police can open fire when y cannot orwise stop a fleeing vehicle posing a threat.

Rising summation shots

Or employment situations of firearm include firing of animals, also rising with 36 uses reported, compared to 23 in first half of 2016.

The most significant progression is in case of intimidation or summons, from 2 to 19 reported uses. For IGPN, this results from an increase in violence against law enforcement. "The increase in number of attacks on police officers or gendarmes on active duty is a long-term trend," commented AFP Christophe Seethalakshmi, head of National Observatory of Crime and Criminal responses (ONDRP), At beginning of October of an annual balance sheet which showed that number of policemen wounded by weapon had risen from 430 to 687 between 2015 and 2016.

If fire in air or ground has increased sharply, firing of dangerous persons, armed or appearing armed, has remained stable, from 17 to 19. For Frédéric Lamptey, "it is proof that police are responsible, despite legislation that has relaxed rules of use of weapons". "Contrary to what we wanted to believe, this law did not issue a licence to kill, orwise neutralization shots would be increasing," stresses Mr. Lambin.

The IGPN is concerned, however, with considerable increase in accidental fire: 23 were reported for first six months of 2017, compared with 10 in first half of 2016. On Wednesday, a police officer from Strasbourg Research and intervention Brigade was accidentally killed by firing, during a simulation of hostage-taking on former air base of Francazal, near Toulouse. According to our information, this exercise was not to be done with real bullets, but an error would have been made when service weapon was put into safety. In April 2017, in Mulhouse police station, manipulation of a handgun also caused an accidental firing and death of a police officer.

Agents "Uncomfortable"

It is mainly long guns that pose a risk of accident, especially when y are handled at time of commissioning or restitution. These weapons are much more present since attacks of November 2015. The Crime Brigades (BAC) have, for example, been equipped with HKG36 assault rifle to extent that y could be led to intervene first on an attack scene, before arrival of specialized elite forces. In same way, staff of police station are led to furr carry Beretta 12 SD submachine gun, in static guard situations for example.

The operational use of se weapons remains extremely rare. A single long gun shot was reported by police in first half of year. But 18 "reckless" shots took place over same period. They have made no casualties, but y reveal errors in respect of security procedures. In one third of cases, weapons were manipulated outside secure areas provided for that purpose, "Ballistic Wells". These accidents also translate "uncomfortable" agents and demonstrating a real "ignorance" of ir tool, stresses IGPN. In image of this peacekeeper who forgot to remove charger from his submachine gun during a start-up and who accidentally pulls inside a desk. The bullet went through a door, a bulkhead and a cupboard before going to nest in a cupboard. In image, too, of this security assistant who, believing to secure submachine gun of a colleague, placed it in burst mode and triggered a shot, bullets going to freeze in a police entrance door.

"The occurrence of recorded accidental firings today exceeds exceptional character," Still deplores IGPN, which pleads for a reinforcement of required training levels. "The manoeuvre of HKG36 is more complicated, personnel are not accustomed, y do not pull enough," points out in turn Axel Rao, of Union VIGI (ex-CGT-Police). The training on this weapon is focused on a few hours.

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