April 20, 2018

France orders Nice policing inquiry after July 14 attack

People write messages on a long sheet of paper on the third day of national mourning to pay tribute to victims of the truck attack along the Promenade des Anglais on Bastille Day

France’s government, facing intense criticism over security on the night of last week’s deadly truck attack in Nice, said on Thursday it was ordering an inquiry by the national police inspectorate.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced the move after accusations by politicians from the Nice city area that policing arrangements were insufficient for national holiday celebrations during which the attacker drove a large truck into a no-traffic zone, killing 84 as they left a fireworks display.

The inquiry by an inspectorate widely known in France as the “police of the police” will look into the nitty-gritty detail of how the area was cordoned off for the traditional Bastille Day festivities on July 14 and how the area was patrolled.

The move was welcomed by Christian Estrosi, the head of the regional government in south-east Riviera coast area whereNice is located.

The right-wing politician has led the charge against the Socialist government, accusing it of light-handed security and also of misleading the public on precise policing arrangements.

Tunisian delivery man Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was able to drive a 19-tonne truck along a packed sea-front promenade that was cordoned off and mow down dozens of locals and foreigners before he was shot dead by police.

Much of the controversy over policing, beyond the system of road blocks easily breached by the truck, centres on the shared patrol duties of different units of police, some of whom answer to local government and others to central government.

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