A firefighting truck works to contain a fire in Saint-Magne, as wildfires continue to spread in the Gironde region of southwestern France, August 11, 2022.
© REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
A firefighting truck works to contain a fire in Saint-Magne, as wildfires continue to spread in the Gironde region of southwestern France, August 11, 2022.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has announced plans to launch 3,000 "green gendarme positions" to improve the investigation proceedings in environmental issues - particularly in cases of arson.


Comment: Apparently the government has room in the budget for these new hires, despite the fact they won't address actual, critical issues like the looming food shortages, the energy crisis, and the country's tanking economy.


"The aim is to have gendarmes (police officers) trained in attacks on ecology in each gendarmerie brigade... It will be a revolution", the minister said on Sunday. This summer, "there were between 80 and 120 fires per day in France; to date we have carried out 26 arrests of suspected arsonists."


Comment: With so many fires, and just 26 arrests, it seems highly unlikely that these officers, who will likely be spread across the country, will make much difference.


Darmanin hopes that the move will "massively strengthen local and central authorities in the fight against damage to the environment."

In 2004, the Central Office to Tackle Environmental Crime (OCLAESP) was founded. In July, it led investigations into the great fire of Landiras in Gironde.

In addition to the inquests into numerous fires that took place this year, OCLAESP investigators are tasked with fighting against the trafficking of various substances (medicines, waste, protected species, etc.) as well as doping in sport, physical pollution, food scandals or bioterrorism.


Comment: These 'green gendarmes' might have an exceptionally large remit.


Based in the Paris region, the workforce has grown to now include nine regional branches: Bordeaux, Guyana, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes, La Réunion, Papeete and Valenciennes.