Source:Policing, Volume 3, Issue 1, p.34-40 (2009)
The governance of the major riot that rocked France in 2005 is presented: how actors interacted, negotiated and got into conflict (governmental and non-governmental). By examining the responses elaborated and implemented during the riots, we try to evaluate the capacity to command, plan and communicate by the French national police and the government. On different aspects (availability of a Richter-like scale related to anticipating rioting, preparations for coordination, fair communication with the media, the population and the victims), the French police scored low. Structural reasons related to excessive centralization of the police system together with a focus of government on forthcoming elections might explain these findings. However, the police managed to avoid causing fatalities after the initial breakout despite a national scale phenomenon and a duration of three weeks.