French President Emmanuel Macron said he will put thousands more police on the streets, at a time when the main challengers to him winning re-election say he has let the French down on security.
Security has become a major topic in the campaign ahead of April’s presidential election, with candidates on the right and the far right vying for centre-right Macron’s job and all jostling to sound the toughest on crime.
“Today, our police and gendarmes handle many tasks that don’t make a difference in your daily lives – guards for public buildings and for hospitalised people in custody, officers at court hearings – … which prevent them from patrolling in neighbourhoods,” Macron said.
“We’ll free them up from these tasks, by handing these tasks to administrative personnel, or through private or contract partnerships … this will allow us to free up the equivalent of 3,500 police and gendarmes.”
Defending his track record after conservative opponent Valerie Pecresse, and far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour have repeatedly criticised him, Macron said: “We have over the past five years … reinvested in our security.”
He said there had been a drop in burglaries and other crimes during his presidency.
Macron has not officially announced he will seek a second mandate but there is little doubt he will throw his hat in the ring.