ER Editor: The police who are the subject of the article below from France Soir come from what is called ‘Direction de l’ordre public et de la circulation’ or Directorate of Public Order and Traffic. From French Wikipedia we get this:
The Directorate of Public Order and Traffic (DOPC) is one of the six major police directorates, known as “active directorates” of the Paris Police Prefecture (PP). It is in charge of maintaining public order (festive or protest demonstrations on the public highway), protecting the headquarters of the Republic’s institutions and diplomatic representations, monitoring compliance with the provisions of the Highway Code and, in particular, preventing and combating crime and road violence.
We’ve been keeping tabs on reports to do with the police in France for some time. The problems in high immigrant areas of France have long been problematic for them, where violence and new types of violence directed toward both the police and emergency services surface, yet the police have complained of the government and their own management not having their backs when problems arise in these dangerous areas. False flag terrorism has also put a lot of pressure on police for several years. Not surprisingly, suicides have been unusually high for quite some time. From November of 2018, the weekly Yellow Vest protests were keeping them busy and exhausted; some of their behaviour during this time became quite notorious and disturbing for its violence toward ordinary citizens.
Now protests have an additional reason to exist: the tyrannical ‘health’ measures of the Macron government, which have been going on for 18 months. Every Saturday there are several demonstrations in Paris. Morale is also low because the justice system lets the real criminals get away with light sentences. The police are also fully aware how the government gets them to do their dirty work against ordinary French citizens.
The following report testifies to the dreadful, abusive management style of French bosses generally, which we have experienced ourselves. There is simply no interest in human psychology and what makes your workforce happier and more productive. It’s not part of the culture.
The police have tolerated a lot, and it is primarily they who let Macron and his cronies sleep at night.
Sick leave: the despair of the policemen of the central service of the traffic companies of Paris
LAURENCE BENEUX for FRANCE SOIR
CHRONICLE – This Friday, October 1, 2021, there are still more than sixty police officers from the central service of the Paris traffic companies who are on sick leave. There were 150 last weekend, which represented about half of the policemen of this service of the Direction de l’Ordre Public et de la Circulation (DOPC). They are the ones in charge of supervising demonstrations, with almost all the staff working on weekends. Last Sunday, there were only 24 civil servants left in the service to cover the entire capital.
For these policemen who do not have the right to strike, an obligation of reserve which forces them to silence and who can’t take it any more, sick leave is the ultimate recourse to make known their malaise. They say it, they are all sick! They are exhausted, in burn-out, some on the verge of suicide. A police officer who was summoned to the occupational medicine department has been disarmed until November.
How did it come to this? After years of professional mistreatment, as only the State can afford to do with its “small staff”, years of suffering at work, of complaints never heard. Peacekeepers are mistreated in all services. The terrifying rate of suicides in the police force, in general indifference, is proof of this, but at the DOPC, it’s the best! The testimonies of the police officers are poignant.
Let’s call him Christian: he has years of service behind him. Never off sick, always present, answering all calls, voluntary, “no one can take that away from me” he insists. However, this time, he went on sick leave and even extended it. He can’t believe it himself, “I realized that I couldn’t go back to work the next day. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to go. And my doctor extended me. We give you his raw testimony, because it is edifying:
“We are at the end of our rope. At the DOPC, they are still 40 years behind. It’s ‘die and shut up’. We work with people who think they’re always right, but they’re locked up in their offices and don’t know anything. They think that we are still in the days when there were 2CV’s in the streets! Now, there are bicycles, scooters, people falling down, but they don’t know that. They don’t even know where the one-way streets are; sometimes, we are asked to block the one-way streets! When we report it, they tell us to “pass it on”. We’ve been passing on information for years! But they never reach the top! So I guess they don’t care! All they care about is their results and their bonuses. And since they are short of manpower, they squeeze us to death. We are not even numbers anymore, we are nothing! And when they talk down to us, we have to shut up.
Almost every shift we are called back the night before to tell us that our schedule for the next day has changed, sometimes several times. If we were supposed to start at 11 o’clock, we will be told that we start at 6 o’clock. We organize ourselves, we look for a carpool, and one hour later, a new call orders us to come at 10 am. And if we are not on time, we have a late ticket! This is our life. We keep getting reminded about our days off. We even get messages on our annual leave. Our spouses are mad as hell. One colleague got a message on the last day of his vacation that he was starting early the next day. It was his wife who responded. She said she was his wife and asked if they were aware that her husband was on leave. She dared… That’s beautiful.
We should still be able to disconnect from time to time. They don’t care about our family lives. A colleague who had just gotten married asked to have his five days off in a row so he could go on his honeymoon; he was refused.
If we finish a little early because we are exhausted and soaked, the deputy director blames us, telling us that she is responsible for public funds. She accuses us of stealing taxes.
They put us all alone on traffic points. In our department, there are even trainees who are all alone on points. Colleagues from other departments sometimes stop and ask us “where’s your partner? I’m all alone. We are isolated, completely isolated.”
This last point makes Aurélie Laroussie, president of the Femmes des Forces de l’Ordre en Colère (FFOC), jump. “They are all alone on points! As if we weren’t on heightened terrorism alert, as if we didn’t know that there is a visceral hatred of the cop in some people! It’s criminal!”
“They don’t respect any rules,” explains Christian. “We are police officers, we are asked to enforce the rules and to respect them ourselves. At the slightest misdemeanor, we are punished. But the higher hierarchies are never punished! I wouldn’t want to be an officer, because if a police officer was murdered, I wouldn’t want to be an accomplice to that. And that’s what they would be, accomplices who put him in danger by sending him out on a point alone! And again, we are lucky to have an extremely benevolent local hierarchy. Our commissioner is wonderful! Kind, attentive, always with the door open. Fortunately she is there. We were worried about her when we stopped working, because we knew that it would cause her difficulties. But I saw that she was in pain when she heard the deputy director’s speech.
For it was a speech by a deputy director that set off the fire. It had been rumored for a few days that a company was going to go on mass sick leave on Friday 24 September. A company that “says what it thinks and generally does what it says”. So the deputy director came to talk to her troops, who voiced grievances that she superbly ignored. When a police officer gently asked her if she was aware that her staff was suffering, she replied “yes, yes” absentmindedly and then moved on. And had the good sense to blame the lack of staffing on the police: “It’s your fault that no one wants to come to traffic. You just have to sell it well and talk about it well” (sic!).
Traffic police officers work mainly during the day, and many of them are impatiently waiting for a reform of the cycles that would not only allow them to have more weekends not worked, but above all that would let them hope to be called back less often on their days off. Now, the deputy director has told them that this reform may finally be implemented in January. And that’s a problem.
We would be working on a binary cycle,” explains Christian, “which means that the staff are divided into two groups who work 11 hours 08 or 12 hours 08 per shift. We would prefer 12 hours 08 because then they don’t have the right to call us back on our days off, but obviously, the DOPC wants to impose 11 hours 08 shifts on us. They tell us that we are in a job that is too difficult to work 12 hours 08! So they’re taking the piss out of us! They are going to make us vote, but as usual, they will make us choose between what they want, and the 12 hours 08 shift will probably not be in the choices given! But anyway, as we are understaffed, we are aware that the binary cycle is the only solution to be called back less because it is less demanding in terms of manpower than the current cycle (there are fewer police officers on the street at the same time – Editor’s note). However, it should not be implemented at any time, nor in any way. A colleague pointed out that in the middle of the year, there would be no nannies for the children or places in day care. But they don’t care about destabilizing family lives. And then, nothing is organized, the service is not ready. When we asked where we would put our lunch boxes if we were sent to the four corners of Paris for 11 hours, we were not answered. Since Covid, there are many police stations that do not welcome us during breaks. Their staff are having lunch, and as the rooms can only accommodate 7 or 8 people, we stay outside. If we get wet, where do we go to change? That wasn’t planned either.
And this has consequences on the work. If I block a street near Boulevard Voltaire on a demonstration day, if a resident who wants to go home protests when I tell him that he can’t go through because there is a demonstration, after 10 hours outside and standing, exhausted, I risk reacting badly! I wouldn’t do that after 5 hours”.
To round things out, the day after her speech, the deputy director announced to the officers that she would not be offering them one minute less of duty from now on, when they are usually allowed to return to the base a little early to change during their duty hours. “We’re being offered locker room time after all,” I was told. This was interpreted as a punishment for asking angry questions the day before.
And so, last Friday, the company on duty that day filed 80 one-day sick days. And the next day, 150 four-day sick days were reported to DOPC by officers working on weekends.
How did DOPC respond? Start a dialogue? To try to calm the situation? Not at all! Police officers received, by phone or text message, a summons to occupational medicine to verify sick leave even though the forms had not yet arrived on their desk. Many police officers refused to go because the procedure was not respected and they had not received a written summons in due form. Those who did go were not even examined. A simple “what have you got?” and sick leave invalidated, but revalidated in the afternoon because the unions protested. Better than that, officers who were off work on Friday and called back on Saturday were called back to base while on patrol. They were asked to dress in civilian clothes and were taken in a truck with the police rescue logo in front of the chief medical officer to check their sick leave. They had returned to work.
“It was to scare us,” they explained, “to put a lot of pressure on us.” This truck is called the truck of shame.
There, the Unity SGP Police union took up the cause. A demonstration was organized on Tuesday morning in front of the police occupational medicine, another one this morning, in front of the base of the central traffic companies in the 13th district of Paris. The union demands an end to pressure and summonses. It also denounces a multiplication of restriction telegrams. What is this? At the traffic, there are no days of on-call duty, these days when the police officers, although resting, must expect to be called in case of unexpected events and must therefore make arrangements to be able to go quickly to their place of work. These days are compensated. The restriction telegram is the same principle, except that the days are not paid! If the police officer is called on a Saturday off, for example, he will be paid overtime (which in the police force often means being paid less than a normal hour, since the overtime rate is not calculated according to the usual remuneration but is a fixed and low rate, the same for all peacekeepers regardless of their seniority), but if he is not called, he will have been blocked without any compensation
A union representative was also indignant about a comment made by the deputy director of the DOPC, who explained that “the DOPC is not an open bar, and that police officers are not tied to the radiator. In other words, if they’re not happy, the door is open… And one wonders why they “don’t sell the service well!”
The attempted pressure tactic, with the summonses to the occupational medicine, may well have had the opposite effect to that intended by management. It is predicted that if the movement were renewed, it would probably be even more followed than last week, and that we would probably go from 150 sick days to 250 or 300, which would mean almost the entire service.
Moreover, Aurélie Laroussie predicts that the movement could well snowball in other services and thinks “that we are very close to a protest movement like in 2016″. That year saw the birth of the Policemen in Anger movement and police demonstrations. A prediction that could turn out to be true, because he tells us that the police officers stopped in the traffic companies of Paris have received many messages of congratulations and support from their colleagues in other services, such as “Bravo!”, “we are with you” …
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