Paris police unarmed! New force goes gunless under the orders of city council | World | News

The non-lethal officials are the work of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the socialist candidate for next April’s French presidential election. Instead, the first contingent of 154 new officers – which Ms Hidalgo inspected yesterday – will be armed with bicycles, truncheons and pepper spray.

The Parisien mayor hopes the unarmed police would strengthen bonds with residents, taking after Britain’s old fashioned bobbies on the beat, the Times reports.

The national gendarme took over policing of the capital under the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, after the 1789 resolution and the upheavals in the city that followed.

It was replaced by the current Prefecture of Police created by Napoleon in 1800, meaning that for 221 years Paris did not have its own police force.

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“We don’t want any confusion between what the national police does and what the municipal police will do,” said Nicolas Nordman, the deputy mayor in charge of security, said.

Ms Hidalgo has previously been reticent towards a local police force for Paris, but ended her aversion following the 2015 terror attacks in the city – as well as the violent protests in recent years.

The socialist mayor has faced criticism from both left and right over the new force’s lack of a firearm.

Philippe Goujon, mayor of the 15th arrondissement, said: “With the rise in violence, every uniform on the street is a target.

“For their own protection, they should be armed.”

Mr Gregoire said: “No municipal police mission can authorise an officer to use a firearm.

“A fight between youths is not resolved like that. To allow that would create confusion in the missions of our agents.”

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