Law enforcement at Milipol Paris
Law enforcement is one of the most dynamic sectors at the event:
- 304 exhibitors in 2021
- 1,700+ visitors in 2021 (14% of the attendance)
- 49% of the exhibitors have selected "law enforcement" as a targeted business sectors for visitors
- Thematic conferences on the large events security management
- A secteur represented in all categories of the Milipol Innovation Awards
- Many products:
- Transmissions and communication solutions
- Technologies for observation, lighting and image capture
- Personal protective equipment
- Vehicles, drones and robotics
They were there in 2021
Article - Law enforcement: a right balance
The social climate in France has largely deteriorated in recent years, leading to a sharp increase in demonstrations throughout the country. There have been plenty of issues: the Labour Law, pension reform, the Yellow Vest movement, protests against the vaccination certificate, and the Global Security Law. Policing is more and more complicated for security forces that are now in search of the right balance.
A new doctrine adopted by the authorities
In recent years, demonstrations have evolved from planned, authorised rallies with clearly identified security services in attendance into gatherings that are sometimes banned by the police headquarters, during which rioters like the "Black Blocks" movement break onto the street, smash street furniture and attack the security forces. In a highly tense social climate, with on the one hand demonstrators denouncing systematic violence against them, and on the other security forces claiming to be targeted, dialogue has come to a standstill. In the Commission of Enquiry’s report in January 2021 on the state of play, ethics, practices and doctrine of law enforcement, the members of parliament stressed the "subtle balance" to be struck between protecting the fundamental right to demonstrate, the physical integrity of demonstrators and law enforcement officers, and the defence of people or property that could be considered collateral victims of the demonstration in progress. In this particularly tense context at the height of the "Yellow Vests" period, the Ministry of the Interior proposed a new doctrine, a new national law enforcement scheme designed to "give everyone a chance to express themselves freely in forms provided for by law, and prevent any violent acts against people and property during demonstrations." A framework for the use of force was clearly established. However, the Conseil d'Etat (Council of State) criticised certain measures, including the encirclement of demonstrators and the obligation for journalists to move away in the event of a dispersal order. In December 2021, the Ministry published a new national scheme factoring in the comments of the Conseil d'Etat.
This new scheme included various measures, like the disuse of the GLI-F4 grenade and its replacement by a GM2L grenade, which does not contain explosives; the setting up of a referent with each prefect to help victims seeking compensation for harm when they had not taken part in confrontations with the security forces; the supervision of techniques used to encircle demonstrators, and greater transparency concerning the actions of the security forces, in particular the obligation to visibly display the name of the unit on their uniforms.
New technologies and policing: a golden opportunity
In the context of policing, the Gendarmerie Nationale has developed a doctrine around the use of new technologies. They do not envisage "the massive acquisition of pedestrian cameras subject to restrictive legislation prohibiting the broadcasting of streams. For the moment, the use of images remains subject to the cognitive and analytical abilities of human resources. In the long term, artificial intelligence should enable the forces responsible for supervising demonstrations to recognise and monitor disruptive elements (through facial recognition) and anticipate their manoeuvres by interpreting weak signals detected within the crowd (through predictive behaviour management)," says Gendarmerie Colonel Michael Di Meo.
But for the time being, all eyes are on the RRF (Radio Network of the Future) which "looks set to revolutionise information and communication systems within the security forces and with their institutional partners". Based on very high-speed upgradable technologies, this will be able to transmit text, image and voice data as well as geolocation data in real time.
Different policing doctrines in Europe
Different European countries have different policing doctrines. In Belgium, the doctrine of de-escalation takes precedence, with negotiation and the avoidance of confrontation as its guiding principles. The very notion of 'policing' has disappeared and been replaced by the terms 'negotiated management of the public space'.  In Germany, weapons like stun grenades, grenade launchers, defensive bullet launchers and flash tear gas grenades are prohibited, as they are in Belgium and the UK. Water cannons are widely used to disperse crowds, with police officers intervening at rallies in the country without shields, using their bare hands. In the UK, the police have adopted the so-called encirclement technique, designed to surround and isolate protesters.
In France, the recent appointment of a new, highly strategic chief of police for Paris suggests that the wind of change is blowing through policing. How will Laurent Nuñez, former director general of the DGSI and former national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism, manage the thorny issue of policing? The answer will be revealed in the coming months. Meanwhile, the social climate seems to have calmed down recently, with fewer demonstrations in the country.
 Maintien de l'ordre : une doctrine en débat, Vie Publique, 16 December 2021, Vie-publique
 Schéma National de Maintien de l’Ordre, Ministère de l’Intérieur, December 2021
 Michaël DI MEO, Colonel de gendarmerie, DGGN, “Les outils du maintien de l’ordre: état et perspectives”, RGN 267, 2020
 Désescalade de la violence et gestion des foules protestataires, Défenseur des droits, December 2021