Vigipirate plan
17 July 2016

No Government has done more to counter terrorism to date

In the wake of yet another terror attack on French soil, in Nice this time on the evening of 14 July, the French President has underscored the need for national unity and France's determination to defeat jihadist barbarity. Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve would like to clarify the action that the Government has been taking since 2012 to combat this scourge as follows.
Content published under the Government Valls III from 2016 11th February to 2016 06th December
 
First, we are responding by fully mobilising all of our forces and increasing their numbers – 9,000 police and gendarme jobs brought back over the whole of the five-year term, including 1,900 to strengthen domestic intelligence, when 12,500 had been cut between 2007 and 2012. The Minister of the Interior has also set in motion a new national blueprint for the intervention of forces nationwide and equipped and armed first responders – police from the BAC (anti-crime brigade) and gendarmes from the PSIG (surveillance and intervention platoons) – with the latest technology available. This has been made possible thanks to a 17% increase in operating appropriations for the domestic security forces – making up for the very amount by which these had been cut during the previous five-year term. The intelligence services have been overhauled with the creation of the DGSI (Directorate-General for Domestic Security), SCRT (Central Territorial Intelligence Agency) and an operational counter-terrorism headquarters which coordinates the radicalisation prevention policy and monitors the quality of follow-up of radicalised individuals. The Database for Reporting Radicalised People with Terrorist tendencies, set up in 2015, ensures round-the-clock surveillance of 12,000 individuals.
 
Second, we are responding by adapting our legal tools. Three anti-terrorist acts and one intelligence act have been adopted during this five-year term. An initial anti-terrorist act adopted in December 2012 enables French nationals to be tried for their involvement in terrorist offences committed abroad. Together with the work that our police and intelligence services are accomplishing, this act has already made it possible to initiate some 300 court proceedings against more than 1,200 French citizens with ties to jihadist networks. A second anti-terrorist act, adopted on 13 November 2014, introduced a foreign travel ban (IST), a ban on entering the country (IAT), and the shutting down and delisting of terrorist propaganda websites. Thanks to the act of 3 June 2016 stepping up the fight against organised crime, terrorism and their financing, special investigation methods – hitherto reserved for the criminal procedure stage – can now be used right from the preliminary investigation stage. These include bugging private locations, using IMSI catchers and greater use of night-time searches. The act also introduces whole-life tariffs for perpetrators of terrorist crimes and toughens the conditions of remand in custody and sentence adjustments. All of these measures have been applicable since the act was promulgated. Lastly, the Savary Act of 22 March 2016 has also ramped up the level of transport security.
 
We are also responding by taking decisive action to prevent radicalisation. A comprehensive plan to combat jihadist networks was launched back in April 2014. This particularly included the setup of a hotline for families, through which over 5,000 individuals have been reported and many departures prevented. The fight against radicalisation is a fully-identified priority, and on 9 May 2016 the Government announced an exhaustive 80-measure-strong plan to counter radicalisation and terrorism. This particularly involves the creation of a rehabilitation and citizenship centre in each region by the end of 2017. The first such centre will open on 1 September in Indre-et-Loire.
 
We are responding at European level too. Under France's impetus, European bodies have adopted a series of vital measures: an amendment to Article 7-2 of the Schengen Code so as to reinforce checks against relevant databases at the EU's external borders, the establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard, the revision of the Firearms Directive and the adoption of the PNR (Passenger Name Record).
 
The Government is taking a hard line against radical Islamist discourse: since 2012, 80 expulsion measures have been issued against hate preachers and false, self-proclaimed imams. Ten radicalised mosques and prayer rooms have been closed. None were closed during the previous five-year term. Regarding the En Nour mosque in Nice, it was not the Préfet (high-ranking civil servant representing the State) but the courts that decided to open it, sanctioning Nice City Council's failures to comply with the rules of law. For we are a country where the rule of law does, indeed, apply.
 
The Government studied the matter of administrative detention with the utmost attention. Either an isolated individual plans to carry out an act collectively or individually, in which case a prison sentence for terrorism-related criminal offences applies instead of administrative detention; or there is no evidence justifying a terrorist risk (being placed on the Fiche S (S list) security register allows surveillance, it is an intelligence tool, but does not constitute a piece of evidence), which means that the measure to restrict freedom pursuant to Article 66 of the Constitution cannot be implemented as it is at odds with constitutional and European rules. Moreover, in the opinion it issued on this matter on 17 December 2015 at the Government's request, the Conseil d'Etat very clearly stated that: "outside of any criminal proceedings, the detention of persons posing risks of radicalisation is not permitted on constitutional or conventional grounds." Our Constitution guarantees civil liberties: arbitrary decisions are unconstitutional. Above all, they are neither acceptable nor effective.
 
Furthermore, since 3 June 2016 it has been an offence, punishable by two years' imprisonment and a 30,000 euro fine, to browse jihadist websites on a regular basis. These provisions shore up existing legislation and are already in force.
 
Finally, the placing of radicalised inmates in isolation has been trialled in five prisons since January 2015. Such prisoners are separated from others and have individual cells. They also follow a specific programme.
 
This uncompromising stance is proving effective: 16 attacks have been foiled on French soil since 2013. 160 individuals with links to terrorist activity have been arrested in France since the start of 2016 thanks to the efforts of our services. Since border controls were reintroduced on the evening of 13 November, 48 million people have been checked at all of our land, air and sea borders, and 28,000 individuals have been prevented from entering France.
The Government is fully committed to continuing and stepping up these efforts, in accordance with our democratic rules and for the sake of national cohesion, with the sole aim of keeping French people safe and of defending France.


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