Paris transport police to carry arms

This is one of the direct consequences of the decree passed in September 2016 on the safety of public transport: the Paris transport authority RATP may spent €1.7m to procure 1,200 9mm semi-automatic weapons and related ammunition to enable its security agents to patrol armed throughout the Parisian transport network.

This photo, taken on October 6, 2016 is of an RATP security officer and her dog during a large-scale control operation at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

In a notice published on 21 June on the European Ted platform, RATP specifically requires the supply, delivery and maintenance of 9mm caliber semi-automatic weapons, their associated accessories (chargers, cases, cleaning kit, …) and 9mm calibre ammunition. The five-year contract will be split into two separate lots: one worth €1.2m for 1,200 pistols and the other worth €500,000 for 805,000 pieces of 9mm ammunition.

The scope of the command nevertheless raises questions because the number of weapons envisaged is almost more than the number of RATP security officers. There are currently 1,000 of them with a further 110 positions waiting to be filled. In addition, the November 2016 decree specifies that only agents with at least five years experience in the RATP’s security service of RATP and who have a nominative prefectoral licence to bear arms can do so. Consequently, either the RATP will be allocating part of the order for training purposes or it is anticipating a reinforcement of its staff.

Coordinated from a joint command post installed in the basement of the RATP headquarters, the security forces responsible for public transport in Paris include, in addition to the RATP agents, 2,800 SNCF (national railway) agents as well as 1,275 national transport police officers. The unification of these three brigades is now under study. This project, initiated by the current chairperson of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, plans to place all these officers under the leadership of the national police in a regional directorate instead of a sub-directorate.