Youth identity checks in Paris

36-jeunes-parisRecently a study has been published about the profile of youths arrested in Paris. The study is based on a survey focusing on young people carried out in 2010 within the framework of the call for defence and the general public [1]. The French Observatory of Drugs and Drug-related Habits (OFDT) always takes advantage of this event to carry out a survey on the consumption of psychoactive substances among the young. In the 2010 edition, the Council of Paris financed a broadening of the survey to discover the rate of police applications for youth identity checks, and also the features common to those who are subjected to these checks.

The first conclusion of the survey revealed a well-known piece of information: the police stop the young for identity purposes more often than the rest of the population (28% of young people compared to 16% of all those interviewed). Most of these young people are male, are not at school, tend to be overweight, have little trust in the police, have consumed drugs or cannabis and have previously been involved in a brawl.

Based on this information, there are two specific groups of youths that the police stop most often:

The first group is known as menacing epicureans. These are youths who occupy public areas twice as much as others. They are mainly men, with mainly male friends, and who go out at least once a week (to all kinds of places). Their parents usually do not know where they are. They usually live in areas with a good standard of living (they are proud of living there) and their parents are usually liberal professionals. They usually smoke a lot (77%) and some also consume alcohol and cannabis. They normally have a police record because of a brawl of some kind of assault. They have little respect for the police and they enjoy confronting them.

The second group is not so commonplace (youngsters who are checked 1.6% more than the average). Most live in more working class neighbourhoods of the city which they are not proud of, as there are usually problems due to drugs, crime and insecurity. Men are once again the most common, but their friends are usually female. They don’t usually claim to have many friends. They go out more than the other group and don’t consume much alcohol or drugs. Their families know where they are and they tend to be overweight or obese.

The characteristics of groups who are rarely subjected to identity checks: these are mainly female, studying at some level, are proud of their neighbourhood, drink very little and barely consume any drugs. They are given 100 Euros a week as pocket money. They don’t like confronting the police. Some live in working class neighbourhoods, but others in more middle class ones. Their parents usually (or at least many) have a liberal profession. They don’t tend to have any record for disturbances.

Indeed, the fact of having previously been involved in a fight or consumed drugs are factors which have a significant influence on whether young people are checked by the police for identity purposes.

[1] Obligatory in France for young people of military age.

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