By / March 4, 2024

Law Enforcement Identity Checks on Cannabis Consumers Deemed “Ineffective”

In law enforcement, identity checks have long been seen as a cornerstone of public safety. A recent study commissioned by the Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon, sheds light on a significant shift in perception within the ranks of law enforcement. Published on February 27, the study reveals surprising insights into the perceived effectiveness of identity checks, particularly regarding the fight against cannabis and its users.

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Questioning the Efficacy of Identity Checks By Law Enforcement

According to the study, a considerable proportion of gendarmes and police officers doubt the effectiveness of identity checks. With nearly 47 million identity checks carried out annually in France, skepticism runs deep. The study, conducted by researchers from the Center for Sociological Research on Law and Penal Institutions (CESDIP), reveals that 39.2% of law enforcement officers consider identity checks “ineffective or inefficient” in ensuring the security of the territory.

Skepticism reaches its peak when it comes to targeted checks on cannabis consumers. Indeed, 69.5% of police officers consider this method ineffective in combating cannabis consumption.

The study also examines attitudes toward the use of force in law enforcement. While the majority (over 90%) condemn the use of force to obtain confessions, opinions differ on the extent to which force should be tolerated. Approximately 59.8% of those surveyed believe that, in certain circumstances, it is acceptable to use greater force than provided for by law.

One of the most glaring issues highlighted by the study concerns the ongoing training of law enforcement personnel. A significant proportion of officers express concern about the inadequacy of training, particularly in essential areas such as de-escalation of violence and citizens’ rights. Only a small minority (12% of gendarmes and 5.5% of police officers) report receiving training in violence de-escalation in the past year.

The Call for Improvement

In light of these revelations, the Defender of Rights calls on public authorities to prioritize the implementation of recommended measures. Strengthening both initial and ongoing training for police officers and gendarmes tops these recommendations. The establishment of a robust system for evaluating the practice of identity checks is deemed imperative, with a focus on assessing their effectiveness and impact on community relations.

(Featured image by Julia anseele via Unsplash)

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