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Exceptional Measures to Combat the Terrorist Threat

Exceptional Measures to Combat the Terrorist Threat

Published on January 21, 2015

Council of Ministers (January 21, 2015)

The Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Justice Minister and Defense Minister presented the exceptional measures that will be implemented by the government to respond to the major challenge constituted by the threat of terrorism.

1) As part of the army’s participation in the Vigipirate [national security alert] system, 10,500 troops were deployed throughout the country last week, including 5,800 in the Ile-de-France region. These troops were assigned, on a priority basis, to provide security at such sensitive locations as Jewish and Muslim places of worship.

2) The human and material resources of counterterrorism agencies will be increased. The Interior Ministry will create 1,400 new jobs over the next three years, with 1,100 in domestic intelligence (in the departments of homeland security, regional intelligence, and intelligence at the Paris Police Prefecture). This year will see 530 new hires.

The Justice Ministry will create 950 new jobs over the next three years, divided among the courts, prison administration, and youth protective services. Defense and Finance Ministry agencies will cooperate on counterterrorism and on the types of trafficking that provide revenue for terrorist networks. New positions will be created at these ministries as well: 250 at Defense and 80 at Finance (70 of those will be in Customs).

At the same time, more resources will be allocated for equipment and services. At the Interior Ministry, that will make it possible to better protect of police officers, gendarmes and municipal police by providing them with modern, appropriate equipment. All of these measures will represent a cost of about €736 million over the next three years. Of that total, €246 million will be allocated in 2015.

3) The intelligence bill that will be presented to Parliament in the coming months will give agencies the legal means to carry out their missions while providing for the external, independent monitoring of their activities.

This will give France, like most other Western democracies, a legal framework for the activities of its intelligence services, legitimizing those activities while respecting public and individual liberties.

4) All relevant divisions of the Justice Ministry will harness their efforts to prevent and counter radicalization. Additional personnel will be provided to all specialized inter-regional courts and district attorney’s offices for this purpose. Additional jobs and resources will be provided in the area of prison intelligence, particularly in the provinces and in penal institutions.

Lastly, for the first time, monitoring and information measures will be implemented within the Directorate for the Legal Protection of Young People.

Special attention will be given to prisoners. The experiment aimed at grouping together radicalized prisoners initiated in 2014 in Fresnes will be expanded through the creation of 4 other dedicated areas. In addition, funding for national Muslim chaplain services will be doubled and 60 additional chaplains will join the 182 existing chaplains.

Lastly, a file containing the names of all individuals convicted or accused of terrorist acts will be created. These individuals must provide proof of their address at regular intervals and provide notification of any change of address or trips abroad. Failure to comply with these provisions will constitute an offence. This new file will come under the control of a judge and will facilitate the surveillance efforts of the intelligence services and the conduct of criminal investigations.

5) In order to step up efforts to combat the phenomena of indoctrination and radicalization and to provide better support to families facing this situation, €60 million will be specifically allocated through the Interministerial Fund for Crime Prevention to implement counter-radicalization, individual monitoring and reintegration measures in each Department.

6) Efforts to combat the dissemination of terrorist messages in a digital environment will be strengthened. Some of the additional staff will be allocated to cyber patrol units and units tasked with investigating cyber jihad-related crimes. In addition to the forthcoming implementation of options provided under the law of November 13, 2014 (blocking of websites promoting terrorism and delisting of terrorist content through search engines) work initiated with the Internet operators will be intensified in order to provide swifter and more efficient procedures.

7) International and European cooperation will complement action taken at the national level in order to achieve concrete progress and obtain commitments with respect to the Internet and social networks. As part of this initiative, controls at the external borders of the Schengen area will also be strengthened and the movements of individuals for whom an alert has been issued will be more effectively monitored. The PNR system, which will come into operation in September 2015, must now be implemented at the European level.

8) The anti-Semitic nature of the terrorist attacks on European soil, in addition to the increase in anti-Muslim acts since the attacks in Paris, underscores the urgent need to combat racism and anti-Semitism. The country’s driving forces will rally in support of this fight which was declared a national priority at the end of December. The government will propose that insulting or defamatory acts - when linked to racism or anti-Semitism - be included in the Penal Code.

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