Change of era at the Paris police headquarters: former Secretary of State Laurent Nuñez was appointed Wednesday to replace Didier Lallement, the target of attacks from the left who attributed responsibility for police violence to him.

The appointment of the national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism in place of Mr. Lallement, on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior, is one of those decided by the Head of State.

“It is the choice of an experienced man who knows the police headquarters perfectly,” tweeted Gérald Darmanin.

The Minister also paid “tribute” to Didier Lallement “for his action, in difficult conditions, in a context of significant terrorist threat, at the head of the police headquarters over the past three years (…) He brought honor to the Republic”.

In office since 2019, Mr. Lallement, who will leave his post on Thursday, said his “pride of duty accomplished” in a letter to the 44,000 officers of the police headquarters (PP), including nearly 28,000 police officers.

“For three years, we had a real leader with a clear vision, who was able to preserve the unity of the institution,” greeted AFP a senior official of the PP.

In this letter, which AFP read, the prefect said, however, “to preserve the wound of the failure of the Stade de France” at the end of May, when the final of the Champions League had been the scene of scenes of chaos around the enclosure of Saint-Denis.

However, his departure is not linked to this: Didier Lallement had announced his departure to his troops several weeks earlier, no later than August 27, the date of his 66th birthday.

The task of his successor, ex-Secretary of State to Christophe Castaner, then Minister of the Interior, promises to be immense.

Starting with the preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. After the Stade de France fiasco, he will have to remove doubts about France’s ability to host such a popular event.

The organization of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, designed as a river parade on the Seine, is therefore a security puzzle. Many voices are already raised in the police ranks to worry about it.

Didier Lallement himself had deemed the operation unreasonable. But it is wanted by President Emmanuel Macron and the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.

The departure of Mr. Lallement, who had very conflicting relations with Ms. Hidalgo, was welcomed by the first deputy mayor, Emmanuel Grégoire. “Welcome to the new prefect of police of Paris, @NunezLaurent! We look forward to working with him and all the teams of the @prefpolice”, he tweeted immediately after his official appointment.

Laurent Nuñez therefore arrives on favorable ground, even if many difficult issues remain to be settled with the town hall, from the “crack” plan to the reception of migrants or the management of demonstrations.

On this last point, Mr. Nuñez is on the same line as his predecessor, whose muscular vision of maintaining order has earned him multiple criticisms, several senior police officials have already indicated.

Aged 58, Laurent Nuñez has the advantage of knowing the capital’s prefecture perfectly, having been chief of staff to the prefect of police Bernard Boucault between 2012 and 2015. He retains strong support and friendships there.

He was also police chief of Bouches-du-Rhône from 2015 to 2017.

Before being appointed in 2018 Secretary of State to Christophe Castaner, he was boss of the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) for a little over a year.

After leaving Place Beauvau in July 2018, he joined the Elysée to coordinate the “task force” against terrorism.

At the PP, he will reign over “a state within a state”, with more than 40,000 civil servants, a prestigious judicial police and an independent intelligence department, to the chagrin of his former “house” the DGSI.

07/20/2022 15:39:38 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP