French police under fire in new book

A sociologist's investigation into a French anti-crime squad operating in the suburbs of Paris has raised questions about current police conduct in France.

Sociologist Didier Fassin spent a year and a half inside the Brigade anticriminalité (BAC), newspaper Libération reports. His findings, published in a new book, are strongly critical of police behaviour and conduct in the field.

Fassin, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, points to several underlying problems including inefficiency, a propensity for violence and widespread racist attitudes.

The book reflects the sensitive nature of questions surrounding law enforcement and suburban youth in today’s in France. Libération speculated that it would prove a major contribution to the 2012 presidential debate.

Police officers interviewed by the newspaper rejected the sociologist’s findings. The behaviours he observed were “atypical” and “marginal”, the officers said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minster Claude Guéant is set to attend the opening on Friday of an exhibition on suburban policing in Bobigny, a suburb of Paris, Le Figaro reports. There he is expected to talk about the difficult environment these police officers face and the important work they carry out.

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