Le Parisien newspaper, which revealed the leaked memo, claimed the officers were identified for acts such as refusing to stand guard outside a synagogue or refusing to respect a minute’s silence. One officer even put out a call to murder on Facebook, which landed him in court, Le Parisien claimed.
The newspaper claimed police in Paris were now recording “transgressions” on a weekly basis.
Stanislas Gaudon, from the police union Alliance, told The Local that while they couldn’t talk about or confirm the individual cases, most were related to disobeying the police’s strict rules around secularism.
While the incident maybe something as minor as an officer observing daily Muslim prayers or wearing religious clothing at work, police are forced to take it seriously given the heightened terror threat and huge concern about the number of French people being radicalized.
The fact that officers are armed and have access to police files means the Ministry of Interior has to take the utmost caution, said Gaudon.
“This phenomenon was a concern back in 2014, which is why the Ministry of Interior asked for particular attention to be paid to it,” Gaudon told The Local.
“There are rules in place that forbid officers from demonstrating their religious conviction at work. Officers are closely watched by their superiors and police chiefs in Paris and if an individual is identified then police intelligence services can become involved,” he said.
“It may prove to be a false alarm or a real case of radicalization or fundamentalism.”
Patrice Latro, Chief of the Paris police accepted “the phenomenon exists but is extremely marginal” given that Paris has 27, 000 officers.
He said police “would not tolerate any infringement within it the principle of secularism” and that “administrative sanctions can be taken in cases where it is proven.
The cases highlighted in the leaked memo do not reveal any kind of concerted attempt by jihadists or extremists to infiltrate the police, Le Parisien said and counter-terror officers have not been called in to investigate in any of the cases.
A total of 17 police officers were radicalized in greater Paris between 2012 and 2015, according to a book released by French journalists Christophe Dubois and Eric Pelletier.
In a book titled ‘Where Have Our Spies Gone?
Small and Big Secrets of French Intelligence’, journalists Christophe Dubois and Eric Pelletier claimed that a total of 17 Muslim police officers were radicalized in the greater Paris region, Ile-de-France, between 2012 and 2015.
The authors of the book reveal that the counter-terrorism activities of French special services had suffered from ‘gaps’ and that French authorities had turned a blind eye to the radicalization of young, French-born Muslims.
In the book, the journalists said that instead of focusing on protecting national law and order, some rogue French policemen engage in Islamic proselytism and justify terrorism. Some officers pray openly in the streets and abuse their position.
In an interview Christophe Dubois, however, warned against overdramatizing the religious leanings of the policemen.
“Although it does not turn them into terrorists, it may be the first signs of radicalization leading to more serious things,” Dubois said, referring to a female police officer in Paris who called for violence against the French government on her Facebook page.
Also alarming is that this phenomenon isn’t limited to the French police, the authors of the book said.
They noted that there were at least one hundred cases of radicalization in the country’s Defense, Interior and Justice Ministries.
“France’s state services reflect how radicalization is making progress in our society.
So the news about some police officers in Paris being radicalized is not surprising as such.” In their book, the authors managed to depict a typical image of civil servants who have been radicalized.
“They are young people who joined the police force in the mid-2000s.
While police officers, they won internal competitions because many of them used to be junior security officers,” according to the authors.
They also pointed out that the radicalization only affects the police and that it is “marginal” in its nature.
“It is not the fifth column infiltrating intelligence services.
We are dealing with a phenomenon that is happening under the close supervision of special services, such as the internal police force,” the authors said.
On November 13, 2015, terrorists conducted a number of coordinated attacks in the French capital, killing 130 people and injuring over 360.
The terrorist group Daesh, which is outlawed in many countries including Russia, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
On July 14, 2016 France was rocked by another deadly Daesh attack, when a truck rammed into a large crowd that was celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.
At least 84 people, including children, were killed and over 300 people were injured.