France to deploy 'green police' against fire-starters

France to deploy 'green police' against fire-starters
Credit: Belga

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has announced plans to launch 3,000 "green gendarme positions” to improve the investigation proceedings in environmental issues – particularly in cases of arson.

“The aim is to have gendarmes (police officers) trained in attacks on ecology in each gendarmerie brigade... It will be a revolution”, the minister said on Sunday. This summer, “there were between 80 and 120 fires per day in France; to date we have carried out 26 arrests of suspected arsonists."

Darmanin hopes that the move will “massively strengthen local and central authorities in the fight against damage to the environment."

In 2004, the Central Office to Tackle Environmental Crime (OCLAESP) was founded. In July, it led investigations into the great fire of Landiras in Gironde.

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In addition to the inquests into numerous fires that took place this year, OCLAESP investigators are tasked with fighting against the trafficking of various substances (medicines, waste, protected species, etc.) as well as doping in sport, physical pollution, food scandals or bioterrorism.

Based in the Paris region, the workforce has grown to now include nine regional branches: Bordeaux, Guyana, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes, La Réunion, Papeete and Valenciennes.


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