Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Turkish troops to go further into Syria, says foreign minister

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clinton's Comedy Turn

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Breaking the wall between technology and people

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Rural France: Challenges and opportunities

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: In Burma, ex-political prisoners struggle to return to normal life

Read more

ENCORE!

Xavier Dolan: Wunderkind of Québecquois cinema

Read more

Europe

Marseille police unit closed due to rampant corruption

Latest update : 2012-10-07

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced the closure of an anti-crime squad in Marseille after theft, racketeering and drug trafficking were exposed in the police unit. Prosecutor Jacques Dallest said “gangrene” had struck the service.

Twelve police officers in France's crime-ridden Marseille appeared in court Friday on suspicion of corruption, extortion and drug dealing, with a prosecutor claiming there was "overwhelming" proof of guilt.

Seven were locked up and five granted provisional release while French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced he was suspending them and terminating their anti-criminal brigade team.

"The deeds for which they are being pursued are exceptionally grave", the interior ministry said in a statement, and if they proved true they "would damage the honour and the probity that must be shown by those who guarantee the security of our fellow citizens."

Cannabis and money had been found in the lockers of the members of an elite detective squad and above a false ceiling in their office building in the northern district of the southern French city, prosecutor Jacques Dallest said.

The officers were arrested on Tuesday. They are suspected of having stolen drugs and cash from dealers and of holding on to cigarettes confiscated from illicit sellers.

Dallest said secretly recorded conversations in their official vehicles were "very revealing" and suggested the alleged corruption could have involved more officers than those in court on Friday.

"The feeling is that gangrene has taken hold of this service," the prosecutor said.

In Paris, Interior Minister Valls said the officers would face harsh punishment if charged and found guilty.

"If the allegations against them are proven, I will be extremely harsh and will take decisions," he said, adding there is "no place for those who dirty the uniforms of the police."

If charges are brought, the Marseille affair will be the second major corruption case to hit the French police in little over a year.

Michel Neyret, the former deputy police chief of Lyon who was hailed for cutting drug crime and jewellery heists, is currently under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of accepting gifts and favours from members of the city's underworld.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last month announced beefed up security with 205 extra police to tackle deadly gang violence in Marseille following a wave of underworld shootings.

He also announced the creation of a new security zone in the city's southern quarters.

The Mediterranean port of some 850,000 residents, long known as a hotbed of crime, has been struck by a wave of shootings with assault rifles in turf wars over the lucrative illegal drug trade.

A district mayor had urged the government to take drastic steps, even appealing for the army to be sent in, but the call was rejected quickly by Valls.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-10-06

  • FRANCE

    Marseille gets more police to combat gang violence

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Deploying army to violent Marseille ‘inconceivable’

    Read more

COMMENT(S)