Parisian 'incivility brigade' to tackle anti-social behaviour
Paris sent an 1,800-strong "incivility brigade" into the streets of the French capital yesterday to enforce fines for uncouth behaviour and the blight of rubbish, cigarette butts and dog mess.
Paris already had a number of city officers who can dish out fines for such "incivilities", but has now massively increased their powers, under the banner of the "prevention, security and protection" division, DPSP.
The new officers will all be in uniform and most will be armed with batons and tear gas. The brigade will include 320 mobile officers who will roam the capital around the clock seven days a week.
Parisians and tourists alike now run the very real risk of being fined €68 for dropping their spent cigarette ends or litter on the floor or urinating in the street.
These agents also have the power to fine those who set up illicit stalls in the street, let their dogs defecate without clearing up the mess or make too much noise.
Colombe Brossel, Paris's deputy mayor in charge of security, said: "The aim of this reform is to boost the visible presence of agents."
But Philippe Goujon, the deputy mayor of the 15th arrondissement, said what Paris really needed was a stronger presence of armed municipal police rather than a "Canada Dry" version in the shape of incivility agents.
Parisians are divided on the issue. "Sometimes it's just so dirty that it's got to be good news," Jacqueline, a 70-year-old from the 19th arrondissement told 'Le Parisien'.
The city's town hall said that it had no choice but to send forth the agents as previous awareness campaigns had no effect on Parisians' dirty habits.