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France Allows Police to Carry Guns Off Duty Amid Jihadists’ Threats

© AFP 2021 / FRANCK FIFEOfficers of the French national police patrol
Officers of the French national police patrol - Sputnik International
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French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has given permission to French police to carry guns even when off duty after a police officer and his wife were murdered in their home by a suspected jihadist.

Policemen take part in a mock suicide attack exercise as part of security measures for the upcoming Euro 2016 football championship, at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, central-eastern France, on May 30, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Larossi Abballa, a 25-year-old radicalized by Daesh ideologies, stabbed 42-year-old police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his 36-year-old wife Jessica, a police secretary, at their home in Magnanville, north-west of Paris on June 13.

This incident prompted the government to allow police officials to carry their guns even when not on duty. The measure can be seen as controversial as it remains unclear how the public will respond to this.

The new measure comes amid heated debate over gun-control and pro-gun advocates in the US following the Orlando massacre. The US is widely divided on the issue.

Although amid the rise of lone attacks allegedly by jihadists, the US is not the only country that is feeling threatened.

Monday night’s attack was not the first time police have been targeted by terrorists in France. Moreover, the leaders of the Daesh terrorist organization have called on their followers to target representatives of the French state, so the police in France have also called for more protection.

The permission to carry weapons off duty was firstly given to officers for a short duration following the 2015 Paris attacks in November, but this permission was to expire by the end of July as the state of emergency was to be called off.

The new measure has come after a meeting between police unions and Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve on Tuesday.

“The minister announced that the authorization to carry weapons would be extended beyond the state of emergency,” news website The Local reported Yves Lefebvre, secretary general of the Unité SGP-FO police union as saying.

There have also been calls for authorities to introduce a system in which radicalized individuals would be kept under a closer watch even after they have served prison sentences. Apart from that the French minister also expressed hope for improved relations between police and public.

Accusations of police violence during the anti-labor protests in France led to ill feeling and harsh criticism toward the forces of law and order of the country, The Local reported.

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