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Assessing a policing policy : The first Sarkozy ministry (May 2002 through March 2004) - D. Montjardet

Dominique Monjardet ✝
Centre d’études et de recherches de science administrative (CERSA), CNRS, université Paris-2, 10, rue Thénard, 75005 Paris, France

Available online 11 September 2008 on ScienceDirect

How best to assess the effects of Nicolas Sarkozy’s law enforcement policy during his first term as French Minister of the Interior from May 2002 to March 2004 ? Analysis of the relevant statistics and, above all, how they were constructed, results in an ambiguous answer, because the policing policy was recentered on the state’s crime repression prerogative at the same time as police services were being called upon to show a fall in crime rates that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the new policy. Meanwhile, analysis of opinion polls on feelings about safety indicates that the minister’s law and order discourse had some effect, particularly after strong politicization of the theme in the period leading up to the April 2002 presidential elections. Lastly, the analysis brings to light the discrepancy between the practical and purely political effectiveness of this law and order policy.

Keywords : Crime ; Police ; Indicators ; Clearance rates ; Offenses ; France

Article Outline

  • 1. Introduction : politicizing security
  • 2. Sarkozy policy results : the statistics
  • 3. Contesting the indicators : controversy and clarification
  • 4. The limitations of the statistical approach
    • 4.1. A mixed inside view of the record
    • 4.2. Critical view of an outside observer
  • 5. The real feat
  • References

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 50, Supplement 1, December 2008, Pages e30–e49
Translation by Amy Jacobs