• 60'
  • Author : Nicolas Ducrot
  • 25-04-2021
  • Master : 3049


What is daily life like inside the police station of a middle-sized city? Apart from the high-profile services like “crime squad” or “narcs”, the work of the police also consists in dealing with a succession of apparently banal little incidents: a worrying disappearance, a troublesome neighbour, a minor who missed his train… cases where the reception and treatment of the victims are determining factors. Working alongside the police in Boulogne-sur-Mer are other professionals with less prominent occupations. Their role: support and reassure victims day and night. These “little helpers” play a social role far removed from the repressive image of the police. Using a system of fixed cameras set up in the reception of this police station in the Hauts-de-France over several weeks, we invite you to discover the work of these civil servants who rarely hit the headlines, but who are indispensable to the smooth running of the station. Olivier is 45. He’s worked in reception for 10 years. He’s the person who guides and advises the citizen who comes into the station. He is both the control tower and the initial filter. Olivier has to constantly manage different demands, moving from joking to serious, for example, when a minor victim appears with a case of sexual assault. Sometimes the subject of the public’s lack of patience and politeness, he makes an observation: “I get the impression that people don’t much like the forces of law and order. They have a negative image of the police.”. Pascal is his night duty counterpart. Unlike Olivier, he wears a uniform. He receives a public that is totally different at night. “Lots of poverty, alcohol and violence.” He’s the one who manages the bookings of the “night birds” as he likes to say. After thirty years in the police, he accepts his role on the reception desk. “In the beginning, you join the police, you have a gun, a uniform, you think “Wow!”. But, actually, in the police, 90% of our work is social.”. The Boulogne-sur-Mer station is particular in that it has a social assistant on its staff. Ever since 2006, Virginie has been supporting victims in emergency situations. Battered wives, psychiatric cases, social assistance. She takes charge of these fragile people in her office. She is the link between police interventions and the social services. At the risk of sounding shocking, for Virginie, “the complaint is not an end in itself. You don’t have to file a complaint because somebody slapped you. You have to analyse the context, because the complaint may have disastrous consequences on the life of the victim.”. Aurelie is 39. This young mother is part of the local family protection unit. An expert in cases involving minors, she knows how to speak to victims and put them at ease by listening to them. “The word of a minor is sacred. They are not like other victims. I’ve become even more aware of that since I became a mother myself.” She has to tread a path between a difficult job, in which morals occupy an important place, and raising her little boy. “It’s not simple when I’m dealing with a case of paedophilia that occurred in my son’s own school. You have to be mentally strong.”.

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