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Presentation of the Prefecture de Police

Modifié le 31/03/2014

The Prefecture de Police, whose Paris headquarters are situated in the heart of the Ile de la Cité, has been a unique public service in France since it was founded in 1800. It is a human and operational force, a force for innovation and modernisation that has put its broad range of skills at the service of the public for two centuries.

Préfecture de Police



The Préfecture de Police is called on to prevent and fight against a whole host of dangers: crime, public order disturbances, natural and technological disasters, urban hazards, dangers on the road, health hazards, terrorism, etc.


The Préfecture also seeks to provide a high-quality public service in the numerous other domains where it has responsibility, such as issuing administrative documents, controlling traffic and parking, and consumer protection. In addition, the Préfecture undertakes assignments of unparalleled expertise via its scene-of-crime police, its forensic institute, its central laboratory and its psychiatric infirmary.


We invite you to discover the key facets of this great institution that boasts nearly 46,000 men and women, including some 30,000 police officers and 8,500 fire fighters.  Working together, they are committed to ensuring the safety and civil liberties of everyone living in, working in or visiting Paris and its suburbs.


Guaranteeing public safety

Assurer la sécurité

The public’s main expectation is that they should enjoy the right to live in safety. Since the Paris Regional Police Force came into being on September 14, 2009, the Préfecture de Police’s area of jurisdiction has been extended to include the départements of Hauts-de-Seine (92), Seine-Saint-Denis (93) and Val-de-Marne (94). With nearly 30,000 police officers and 8,500 fire fighters for 6.4 million inhabitants, the Paris Regional Police Force covers two-thirds of the population of Ile-de-France and two-thirds of the area’s crime.


It has been possible to deploy a particularly aggressive crime-fighting strategy across this vast region by pooling resources, employing real-time incident analysis, improving information sharing and developing the scene-of-crime police. The Paris Region Community Safety Department (DSPAP), the Regional Criminal
Investigation Department (DRPJ) and the Préfecture de Police Intelligence Service (DRPP) are united in fighting all types of crime in the Paris region.


Five operational priorities have been identified to respond to the needs of the public:

  1. the fight against theft and burglary (armed robbery, theft with violence, theft by deception, counterfeit theft, etc.);
  2. the fight against drug trafficking;
  3. the fight against physical violence (including domestic violence);
  4. the fight against itinerant crime (pickpockets);
  5. and the re-appropriation of public spaces.

Priority safety areas


Re-appropriating public spaces is a priority for the Préfecture de Police.


Priority Safety Areas (ZSPs) were first introduced in July 2012 with the aim of improving the safety and security of certain neighbourhoods that had been particularly affected by a deterioration in public law and order: robbery with violence, burglaries, street sellers setting up on a permanent basis in tourist areas, drug trafficking taking root in the entrances of blocks of flats or public gardens, prostitutes operating from the communal areas of apartment buildings, etc.


Co-managed by the Prefect of Police, the public prosecutor and the mayor, the ZSPs create greater coordination between the police, the state educational authorities, other government departments, local authorities and voluntary groups. They take in-depth action to combat all forms of crime, public nuisance and antisocial behaviour, some of which have become entrenched
in particular areas.


In addition to the operational side - which is intended to increase the police presence on the ground assisted by fast-track court proceedings – there is a partnership component that is dedicated to prevention projects. These are designed to support schemes aimed at juveniles who have gone astray and, in particular, young people who have dropped out of school.


Facilitating administrative procedures

Faciliter les démarches

The Préfecture de Police issues more than a million administrative documents - such as passports, national identity cards, driving licences, vehicle registration certificates and residence permits - every year in Paris.


In order to improve the service offered to the public, the Préfecture de Police has been committed to a vast process of modernisation for several years: bringing services together under one roof, re-designing visitor lay-outs, introducing reception desks and electronic queue management, developing on-line services and the “one-stop appointment” to avoid having to make repeated trips to police stations, etc.


As a result, all the administrative procedures regarding driving licences can now be found under one roof on Boulevard Ney in the 18th arrondissement. In similar fashion, applications for national identity cards and passports are now only made by appointment, which has significantly reduced waiting times.


A customer satisfaction survey carried out amongst users shows that the Préfecture de Police is one of the most efficient administrative bodies in France in terms of the welcome it offers the public, meeting deadlines, processing applications and the provision of services.


Supervising major events


Paris is an internationally-important capital city and the headquarters of various institutions and embassies; it is also the venue for some 7,000 celebratory or sporting events and demonstrations every year. Law and order, together with the protection of institutions, is an essential element of a democracy.


The Préfecture de Police has to guarantee not only the right to demonstrate but also to ensure the safety of participants and residents at the same time as minimising disturbance to daily life in the affected neighbourhoods. Since the Paris Regional Police Force was set up, the Préfecture also supervises the major events that take place on certain strategic sites in greater Paris (the Stade de France, La Défense, etc.) and manages the most sensitive official trips in the inner suburbs.


These public order missions are supervised from the Préfecture de Police’s “public order” information and command centre, which is managed by the Public Order and Traffic Department.


Managing traffic flow and improving road safety

Fluidifer la circulation

Eight million journeys are undertaken by road every day between Paris and the city’s suburbs. Since the Paris Regional Police Force was set up, the Préfecture de Police has specialised units at its disposal for improving traffic flow and implementing daily traffic management plans in Paris and on the 3,720 km of main roads in Île-de-France (including 2,000 km of motorways) that serve the capital. The Traffic Information and Regional Command Centre works closely with the Créteil Regional Centre for Traffic Information and Coordination to manage the operations of the police officers allocated to this task. The quest to enhance safety on the roads remains one of the most important priorities for the Préfecture de Police;  it organises numerous preventive measures together with roadside checks to help improve safety.


Maintaining quality of life


Quality of life for Parisians depends in large part on their environment.


The Préfecture de Police helps to preserve the environment by preventing and curbing technological hazards, pollution and various forms of nuisance. The Operational Division for Technical Services and Logistics carries out checks on the noise and exhaust fumes emitted by the various vehicles that share the public highway. The central laboratory is an accredited scientific organisation that measures the quality of the air indoors and outdoors (residential premises and the work place) as well as water and soil quality. It also undertakes technical investigations in the event of carbon monoxide poisoning  and brings its expertise to bear in the field of fire-safety.


The Department for Transport and Protection of the Public carries out checks on buildings and venues that receive the public (hotels, concert venues, cinemas, etc.) to ensure that safety rules are followed. The Regional Department for the Protection of the Public, which since July 2010 has included the Regional Veterinary Services Department and the Regional Unit for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention, undertakes checks on food and manufactured goods (toys, cosmetics, etc.), prevents illegal commercial practices and contributes to animal welfare.  


Firefighting and rescue services


Created by Napoleon in 1811, the Paris Fire Brigade is a large military unit that comes under the authority of the Prefect of Police. It is responsible for rescuing people in danger and protecting property in Paris and the three départements of the inner suburbs: Hauts-de-Seine (92), Seine-Saint-Denis (93) and Val-de-Marne (94). Carrying out their functions in a huge city – where they perform over two hundred different types of intervention – Paris fire fighters are multi-skilled rescue workers. The brigade undertakes 86% of the emergency responses, both medical and non-medical, in the Paris region. The brigade works in close partnership with the 17 Police-Emergency Service that also offers the public help and assistance at all hours of the day and night. In turn, the police officers of the Homeless Assistance Unit (BAPSA) criss-cross Paris daily to bring help to those most in need.


Preventing and managing crisis situations

Prévenir les crises

An economic region of nearly 12 million inhabitants, Ile-de-France is characterised by the density of its urban facilities and transport networks. It is also the focus of a large number of natural, industrial, technological and health hazards.


The function of the Prefect of Police, who is also the Prefect of the Paris Defence and Safety Zone (which covers the region’s eight départements)*, is to prepare and co-ordinate all the crisis-management measures at this level. The Secretary General of the Defence and Safety Zone (SGZDS) at the Préfecture de Police is the body that, in the event of a major crisis (flooding, heat wave, pandemic, bomb, etc.), is responsible for planning and organising relief, keeping businesses running and ensuring the return to normality. These tasks are carried out in liaison with all the public and private operators (industries, energy providers, public services, etc.). In this context the Secretary General prepares, mobilises and coordinates the civilian and military resources in Ile-de-France. In order to anticipate any type of crisis, the SGZDS has a monitoring, warning and coordination structure in place - the zone’s operational centre - that operates around the clock.


* Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val d’Oise et Yvelines.