September 5, 2019, Several fire and rescue services are experimenting with the use of bodycams to ensure better protection in attacks against firefighters. The analysis of the origin of this violence makes it possible to better apprehend it and thus to better prevent it. Most often they are citizens, rescued victims and their relatives, who have inappropriate behaviour. Since January 1, 2019, the consolidated statistics of the DGSCGC that accurately tracks these assaults give the following figures:

  • 1,274 physical or verbal assaults averaging 5 assaults per day (per 10,000 interventions)
  • 2012 firefighters assaulted
  • 312 injured firefighters

The types of attacks:

  • Verbal aggression: 50%
  • Simple attacks: 35%
  • Projectile Jets: 11%
  • Assault with weapons: 4%

The Government is engaged in a determined fight against these aggressions by strengthening existing measures but also by adopting new ones so that each firefighter is better protected.

 An action plan and measures

Resulting from a background work carried out in consultation with the prefectures and the Departmental Fire and Rescue Services and respectful of republican principles of solidarity and assistance to the population, a new impetus is given by the Government.

Accompanied by strong and direct communication on the role of the state, it incorporates pragmatic measures directly applicable and others more ambitious. By working on the causes, the goal is to refuse the trivialization of these attacks and to provide solutions to the need for protection of firefighters. The state protects those who risk their lives to save the lives of others.

Measures

  1. Strengthening operational protocols

As part of the operational protocols already in place, the prefects were asked to take the following measures:

  • Develop specific procedures for intervention in sensitive sectors (consolidation points, secure routes and appropriate rules of engagement, including support from the police or the gendarmerie when the situation requires it).
  • Facilitate filing complaints and promote systematic functional protection.
  • Train the firefighters to negotiate with an aggressive person.
  1. Systematic complaint filing and adequate functional protection

In case of aggression committed against a firefighter in the performance of his duties, the rule adopted is the filing of a systematic complaint by the administration concerned. Firefighters who are victims will be asked to do the same, knowing that functional protection applies by right.

  1. Systematize the dissemination of good practices

The exchange of experiences and the sharing of good practices will be accentuated. An evaluation of all innovative measures will be carried out.

  1. Diversify recruitment to maintain social ties in difficult neighbourhoods

The under-representation within firefighters of inhabitants of so-called “sensitive” neighbourhoods does not contribute to facilitating the conditions of the intervention of firefighters. Local initiatives have made it possible to create links, to maintain a dialogue between firefighters and young people in difficult or socially disruptive neighbourhoods, also leading to the reduction of the phenomenon of urban violence towards firefighters. In addition, these approaches also respond to the need to increase the pool of volunteer firefighters and it is necessary to strengthen them.

  1. Accompany the training dynamic

By relying on the police forces in the departments and in collaboration with the CNFPT (National Center for Territorial Public Function). Current training will be sustained and boosted to prepare firefighters for situations of intervention violence, and deal with the most common acts of aggression. On two major axes, they will help to understand these phenomena, prepare for them psychologically and learn how to defuse situations of violence:

  • The behaviour of firefighters facing a person agitated.
  • Interventions and individual and collective protection in a violent context. 
  1. Experiment with the use of mobile cameras

On the initiative of the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, the decree n ° 2019-743 relating to the conditions of the experimentation of the use of individual cameras by the firemen as part of their interventions entered into force July 19, 2019. Ten fire and rescue services (Haute Garonne, Gironde, Loire Atlantique, Maine and Loire, Morbihan, North, Eastern Pyrenees, Rhone, Yvelines, Val d’Oise) and the Fire Brigade of Paris have applied for the experiment which runs until February 2022.

This experimental phase begins for the SDIS95 and the BSPP in a very strict legal framework.

Individual mobile cameras for firefighters in six questions:

What is the purpose of these cameras?

Te purpose is to ensure better protection against attacks against firefighters. In this exclusive context, the use of cameras makes it possible to prevent acts of violence, to collect evidence to identify and prosecute perpetrators, and to improve the training of agents.

Will cameras work permanently?

No, the user can turn on the camera when an incident will likely occur of is likely to endanger the physical integrity of firefighters

Can these cameras be used by all firefighters?

No. Only the fire and rescue services concerned and the BSPP are authorized to use this device as part of the ongoing experiment. Moreover, within these services only, the use of these cameras is reserved solely for firefighters with personal authorization in the context of extremely precise rules of use. The devices available are specific cameras and not mainstream cameras.

Who will be able to view the images of the cameras?

Captured images and sounds can not be viewed by the camera user or transmitted in real-time from a distance. Only a very limited number of people will have access to it. Within the fire and rescue services, it will be the Departmental Director of the Fire and Rescue Service, his deputy and the individually designated agents in charge of monitoring these files. The police, the judiciary and the general inspectorate of the Directorate-General for Civil Security and Crisis Management will, of course, be able to obtain the data if necessary. In case of disciplinary proceedings, they may also be used. Finally, once anonymized, they can be used as part of the improvement of training.

How long will the images be kept?

Except for legal process, images and sounds will be kept for six months, the history of access to images for 36 months. They will then be erased automatically. The IT rules for securing access are very strict as are access to the premises where they will be stored. 

What are the rights of filmed people?

The right of objection to shooting by the “pedestrian” camera does not apply. The rights to information and access to data, which are precisely defined in the decree, apply to the fire and rescue services. In case of a dispute of a limitation to the right of access, recourse is exercised with the National Commission Informatique et Liberté.