France is not French Anymore. Riot Police Can No Longer Have Wine/Beer With Meals

Posted on April 22, 2011


Hopalong Cassidy

Mon Dieu!  Quelle horreux!   The riot police in France may be banned from drinking wine or beer for meals while on duty.   Yes, you heard me. BANNED.  The French drink wine at ages and in places we in the US would never dream of consuming it.  The whole world knows that France runs on wine.  The French need it like the rest of us need air. Personally, I would not want to confront a French riot policeman who has not had his quotient of wine at a meal.

On every other police or detective show in the US, someone invariably asks the police detective on duty if he would like to join him in a drink.  And to demonstrate how honest and forthright law enforcement is in this country, said officer always says, “no thanks.  I’m on duty.”  In the media, this dates back to the days of the early TV cowboy flicks on Saturdays when Hopalong Cassidy would go up to the bar and order sarsaparilla and risk the scorn of the outlaws in the room. That’s America – prudish yet everyone refers to it as being a puritan tradition.

Another tradition in the free practice of law enforcement may die.  Law enforcement without panache is not to be tolerated in a civilized society.  If  France becomes humdrum, who would visit the country?  Who would bother with all of those Anglo-French jokes?  I tell you whole industries might collapse that have been built upon our view of the elan that we envision every Frenchman practicing.  Brush up on your French, America and write letters of protest to the Interior Ministry about their decree.  “Allons enfants de la Patrie….”

According to French law alcohol is banned while employees are at work – with the exception of “wine, beer, apple cider and pear cider”.

That has traditionally been taken to mean that a moderate amount of beer or wine is an entirely acceptable way to punctuate a French working day.

Reports suggest the relaxed attitude to alcohol even meant that cans of beer were included in packed lunches issued to riot police while out on the streets.

But images of riot police swigging beer on the sidelines of a student demonstration in late 2010 provoked a strong reaction – and prompted an even stronger reaction from police unions.

In his complaint, Mr Mangione suggested officers should be allowed to continue as before, providing the meal is not eaten in public view.

Paul Le Guennec, of Unite Police SGP-FO, a riot police union, suggested police bosses should look at their own behavior.

“Does the fact that having a glass of wine while eating prevent any kind of worker from carrying out their job? I don’t think the chief of police drinks water when he’s having a meal,” he told the JDD newspaper.