The Prefecture de Police
Based in Paris, the capital of France, and situated at the heart of a vulnerable and densely populated metropolitan area with a population of 12 million, the Prefecture de Police’s task is to prevent and take action against a myriad number of threats: crime, public disturbances, natural and technological disasters, health risks and terrorism.
It also issues administrative documents, ensures the peacefull use of roads and public spaces and regulates traffic.
It carries out complex technical work through its Forensic Science Institute, Psychiatric Centre and Central Laboratory. Its other spheres of jurisdiction include relatively unrecognised areas such as lost property, veterinary services, the police’s “17” emergency line, the Paris fire service, the river police, support for homeless people, etc.
In fulfilling the Prefecture’s duties, some 34,000 civil servants, police officers, administrative, technical and scientific personnel and firemen and women serve the public by pooling their expertise and know-how around the clock.
This publication reveals the many different facets of the Prefecture de Police, from its organisation and the various professions it encompasses to the work it performs, its resources and, above all, the men and women who, day after day, play their part in helping to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Paris.
Facts and figures
- € 2 489bn, allocated as follows:
- € 34,000 civil servants, including :
Information and command rooms
The “public order” information and command room.
The Prefecture de Police boasts a network of information and command rooms that coordinate the activities of police on the ground. Each of these rooms focuses on a specific area: public order, traffic, general security, public transport safety and regional coordination, and management of calls on the police’s “17” emergency line.
Fitted with the requisite video, radio, computer and telephone equipment, the rooms enable real-time monitoring of all events taking place in the capital and send out the requisite commands to local police.
Official events and visits are supervised by the “public order” command room, where monitoring screens broadcast live images filmed by several hundreds of cameras located all over the capital. A new initiative, the 1,000 Cameras Plan, is designed to increase the number of cameras on the streets.
A second room is used to monitor and control traffic on the capital’s main roads and the main routes and motorways in the Île-de-France region. This room is linked to the command post for the city ring-road, which is responsible for coordinating operations on what is a vital route, and to the Regional Road Information and Coordination Centre (CRICR) in Créteil, which is where all information on traffic in Île-de-France is sent.
The “traffic” information and command room.
The fight against crime is coordinated at a third centre belonging to the urban neighbourhood police department. This room is in turn linked to the police’s “17” emergency line command room and the regional transport police command room, which receives all the images filmed by the thousands of cameras in the Regional Parisian Transport Operator (RATP) and the French national railway company (SNCF) networks. It also sends out arrest orders for suspected criminals wanted for armed robberies, carjackings, etc in the Île-de-France region.
The urban neighbourhood police department’s information and command room.
The major periods in the history of the Paris Police Force
In order to understand the unique character of the Prefecture de Police, and the sheer diversity of the work it undertakes, it is worth taking a trip back in time to its origins.
The ancien régime
Louis XIV created the office of Lieutenant de Police in 1667, and its function could be summarised in three words: “clarity, clearness, sureness”.
The first man to hold the post was Gabriel Nicolas, Lord of La Reynie, who managed to impose order in the capital’s streets and for make them relatively safe. In response to the changes taking place in Parisian life, particularly increasing traffic problems, his successors in the post extended the scope of their operational powers.
Paris’s first Préfet de Police: Louis Nicolas Pierre Joseph, Count Dubois. (Born: Lille, 20 April 1758. Died: Paris, 25 December 1847).
The revolutionary era
In the midst of the turmoil that reigned in the streets of Paris on 13 July 1789, a group of volunteers decided to form a bourgeois guard that Lafayette, its elected commander, called the Garde Nationale. To begin with, the police force was placed in the hands of Paris City Council.
The reorganisation of the Paris Police Force was completed in the years that followed by a series of other initiatives: the swearing in of 48 police superintendents (one for each section) and the creation of a police inspectors’ corps.
From 1800 to the present day
It was Bonaparte who created the post of Prefet de Police of Paris, bringing an end to the instability that typified the police force during the last years of the revolutionary period. The decree of 1 July 1800, which defined the Prefet de Police’s areas of jurisdiction, is still in force today.