28.06.2010 - CESP

AISG interviews the Secretary General of CESP

The European Council of Police Trade Unions develops a database on the working conditions of the police officers (Gérard Greneron, SG)

Getting progress about social protection for police officers as well as promoting the human rights are the two objectives of the CESP (European Council of Police Trade Unions) presented by its Secretary-General, the French Gérard Greneron, in an interview with the AISG. Secretary-General since 1998 and a member of the national bureau of the SNOP, he explains the working of the CESP and its activities that essentially take place within the framework of the Council of Europe. He announces that at the present time the organization is finalizing a data base on the working conditions of the police officers from the countries it represents. The CESP gathers now 19 organizations representing 300 000 police officers throughout 18 European countries.

AISG: What is the CESP (European Council of Police Trade Unions)?

Gérard Greneron: Created in 1988 at Avila, the CESP is an INGO (international non governmental Organization) recognized by the Council of Europe since 1991. This birth aimed at creating a European union area of the police forces and took a supplementary signification with the fall of the Berlin Wall. My predecessors met people who were thirsty to make their police forces democratic, to transform a political police force into a police force at the service of the citizen. The CESP gathers today 19 organizations representing 300 000 police officers throughout 18 European countries. We cohabit today with another grouping of unions federated within Eurocop. We are different by our « social » approach of the problems - the CESP aimed at getting progress concerning police officer’s social and legal protection – and by our will to promote human rights.

AISG: How does the CESP act and how does it work?

Gérard Greneron: The CESP profits from the participative statute, that is to say it takes part in the commissions and work groups created by the Conference of the ING0 in relation with the directions of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress. Besides it is registered on the list of the international non governmental organizations entitled to deposit collective complaints against the States’ wrong application of the engagements related to the signature of the European Social Charter. The CESP has already lodged seven claims of which two are in hand at the present time: one against France and one against Portugal.

We have copied our internal organization on the Council of Europe’s. Each union organization-member enjoys one voice. To be noted that any union that is a member of the CESP can oppose to the entry of another trade union. Acting thus avoids reproducing the national dissensions on the European level, which could lead to blockings. We have already known such a situation before creating this rule in 2002: two Portuguese organizations, the one representative of the forces depending on the Ministry for the Internal Security, the other representing the forces depending on the Ministry for the Justice did not manage to come to an understanding on joint positions.

AISG: at the moment, what are the works of the CESP?

Gérard Greneron: This year we are finalizing a database offering a comparison between the statutes, the salaries, the bonuses and the social advantages of the police officers of the countries that we represent. Nobody has ever achieved such a work till now. Moreover, during the last meeting of the CESP held on 16 et 17 June at Kranjska Gora (Slovenia) 80 union leaders police officers from 18 countries met to discuss the thread of the police officers’ prolongation of activity taking into consideration the modifications of the legal age for retirement that has been decided or were in progress in the European countries. The main idea of this discussion would be to determine, according to police unions, until what age it is reasonable to consider the presence of police officers on public space missions and whether it is or not convenient to grant them a different assignment according to their age.

AISG: How has the involvement of a police organization been considered with respect to the works of the Council of Europe assigned to watch over the respect of the human rights?

Gérard Greneron: It is indeed from 1999, under Michel Albin’s presidency, that the CESP was involved even more within the conference of the INGO. We made a lot of efforts to introduce the CESP in this structure of which I am the vice-president since 2006. At the beginning, it was necessary to somewhat make sustained pressure, and then we proved that police officers were pleasant people. We particularly took part in an informal group of work on the police forces and the human rights between 1997 and 2000. This initiative gathered police officers, gendarmes, governments and the NGO and ended on the writing of a guide, available for every police force of every state-member of the Council of Europe.

More recently, we also have been named as expert by the Commissioner for human rights when it led some debates on the composition of the commissions in charge of studying the complaints against the security forces in the different countries. On this occasion, I pleaded so that representatives of the police forces seat in this type of commission, as it is the case in France in the CNDS. A report on this subject should be finalized before Summer.

AISG: Why don’t you work more with the European commission?

Gérard Greneron: The European commission works little in the field of human rights. In the past we met the commissioners in charge of the Internal Security, but we were not convinced they were interested by our opinions. Therefore we follow the initiatives of the European Union without being proactive as it is difficult for us to have regular relations.

AISG: How do you appreciate the situation of France as regards the respect of human rights?

Gérard Greneron: To assert that there is no excess at all from police officers and that nothing could happen would be a lie. As in any other business, police forces have staff that does not respect deontology, but they are also made up of many republicans. The disciplinary committee in which unions seat do not hesitate « to cut heads », that is to say to go so far as to exclude some people. We also ask to totally benefit from the presumption of innocence. « Reproduced with the authorization of the AISG Press Agency (Agence d’Information Sécurité Globale, Groupe AEFC )” www.aisg.info and www.aef.info ”