A legal action to make the police identifiable

The identity and organization repository (RIO) is the identification number that police officers and gendarmes must wear as soon as they are in the field. A decree of December 24, 2013 makes it compulsory to wear it, except for a few rare exceptions such as personnel responsible for the security of the sites of the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI). In fact, the RIO is not systematically worn, or not clearly visible on uniforms, as evidenced by multiple videos shot during demonstrations.

To urge the authorities to make this obligation effective, the Association of Christians for the Abolition of Torture (Acat), the Human Rights League, the Syndicate of Lawyers of France and the Syndicate of the Judiciary filed, Monday, September 26, an appeal against the Ministry of the Interior. “Our goal is not to lead a crusade against the police, explains Patrick Baudouin, president of the LDH. The subject is to reconcile the police with the population. »

“This maintains a feeling of mistrust in the population”

For the applicants, the absence or invisibility of the RIO is particularly problematic during operations to maintain order, during which demonstrators may be led to denounce police violence. “In the majority of situations, the proceedings are closed without further action, for lack of identification of the police officers”, notes Kim Reuflet, president of the Syndicat de la magistrature. “This maintains a feeling of mistrust in the population and impunity in the police, it’s a vicious circle”adds Émilie Schmidt, head of the safety and freedom program at Acat.

The four associations began by sending a letter on this subject to the Ministry of the Interior, on July 13, 2022, “in order to modify the methods of wearing the RIO and to make them more restrictive”. In the absence of a response, they turned to administrative justice. Their request aims not only to ensure that the registration number is actually worn – with effective penalties in the event of a breach –, but also that it be more visible and easier to remember. For example by using larger characters.

Their referral is based in particular on article 15 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, according to which “Society has the right to hold any public official accountable for its administration”. She also cites reports from the defender of rights, recalling that the difficulties of identifying police officers and gendarmes in the event of a complaint concerning them are a ” obstacle “ in the course of the investigations. “This is part of a more global action to put an end to police violence that dishonors our country”, says Patrick Baudouin.

In 2021, the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) received 1,093 judicial investigations, just under half (47%) relating to allegations of violence committed by the police. The IGPN also opened 176 administrative investigations. It also recorded, in 2021, 37 deaths during police operations, including 10 shot dead, and 79 injured.

A legal action to make the police identifiable