Long has been the tradition in France to consume alcohol during lunch hour, provided it is in moderation. However the privilege of tradition can be broken, especially when those charged with curbing ‘untoward’ behaviour mix work with play, and flaunt it in an already inflamed public eye.
Such is the case with the CRS, or French riot police, who, known for their “heavy handed” tactics in crowd control, have enraged both the public and officials after being caught on camera guzzling beer while in full body armour.
Deciding that enough was enough, French interior ministers have unleashed a brazen booze-busting bylaw, which restricts the CRS from drinking any alcohol during lunch time hours.
Such news has of course infuriated the CRS, with one officer calling it “the most absurd and ridiculous decision”. Furthermore, the officers said they will fight the ban, and are already planning to strike over the matter.
The national director of the French Police Union, Didier Mangione, has defended the officers, telling the ministry they should be allowed a quarter litre of red wine with every meal. He says, “in 11 years, I’ve never seen a problem caused by a colleague in an inebriated state”.
Not a problem for Mr Mangione, no. However, with the CRS caught on camera threatening to electrocute student protestors, as well as letting racial taunts fly, it’s argued their behaviour has sparked many of France’s social infernos.
But is imbibing a couple of lunchtime bevies the cause of such behaviour? Dr Gavin Gastro, head of Statistics Involving Police Seizures (SIPS), says it is, and it’s entirely necessary, although officers are getting worse at hiding it.
He says originating in 1944 and comprising largely of communists (historically), the CRS are a timid lot that need a bit of encouragement to tackle the cantankerous cob nobblers that unfortunately go hand in hand with a good protest. He adds while it all sounds a bit dubious, you try confronting a thundering horde of angst-ridden citizens after a bottle of Perrier and a seafood crepe.