Cop au vin, by Didier MangioneTranslated by Ryann Liebenthal

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From an April 18, 2011, letter by Didier Mangione, the national secretary of the French union Unité SGP Police, to Hubert Weigel, head of France’s riot police. Weigel banned on-duty consumption of alcohol after photos surfaced in October 2010 of officers drinking beer while on patrol at a demonstration near Paris. Translated from the French by Ryann Liebenthal.

To the Managing Director,

For several months, a number of our units’ core benefits have been whittled away by successive decrees. Your March 28 decree pertaining to the consumption of alcoholic beverages during the fulfillment of police missions is one such example. Besides being an excessive regulation, it conflicts with the labor code, which permits consumption during mealtimes.

I won’t deny that this decree has been very poorly received by the police personnel placed under your authority, and that the Unité SGP Police cannot in any way comprehend your desire to take such an action. Infantilizing staff under the fallacious pretext of protecting them from legal liability has not been persuasive. The personnel of the Republican Companies are responsible people, legally accountable when necessary, and above all very attached to the image and reputation of our corps.

The Unité SGP Police expressly requests a softening of the decree to allow for a small quarter liter of wine to accompany meals in the field, so long as the meal is served out of public view.

Didier Mangione