The Vigipirate Plan in the anti-terrorist strategy in France

The terrorist attacks perpetrated in France in 2015 and 2016 and the legislative provisions adopted in 2016 have led to a review of the Vigipirate plan to adapt it to the increased threat.


Vigipirate is a central plan within the framework of anti-terrorist strategy that involves all national actors (The State, territorial entities, companies and citizens) in a context of surveillance, prevention and protection.

How is the Plan structured?

It involves 300 measures which apply to 13 fields of action: alert and mobilisation; protection of large human concentrations in an open area; protection of installations and buildings with a symbolic, economic, political or ecological value; protection of industrial installations in the chemical, hydrocarbon or nuclear sector; cybersecurity; the aviation sector; the maritime sector; transport by land; the healthcare sector; protection of the food chain; protection of communication networks, water, electricity, hydrocarbon and gas; control of land, fluvial and lacustrine, maritime and air space borders; protection of French residents in the exterior and French interests abroad.

Objectives of the Plan

1.- The objectives involve dual roles:- Develop a culture of surveillance and security in society as a whole in order to detect threats of terrorist action and

2.- Permanently ensure the protection of citizens, of the territory and interests of France in the face of the terrorist threat.

The 3 levels of the Plan

The implementation of each level is in accordance with the level of the threat and is easily identifiable with a visible logo in the public space:

1.- The level of surveillance is the permanent level of security and involves the implementation of 100 measures which are always active.

2.- The level of consolidated security – risk of a terrorist attack: it adapts the response of the State to a high or very high terrorist threat. A range of additional security measures can be activated to complement others that are permanent especially in airports, railway stations and places of worship among others. This may be applicable to the whole of the national territory.

3.- The level of emergency corresponding to the terrorist attack: this can be activated in the case of an attack that has taken place or when a tourist group that is identified but not located takes action. This level is valid for a limited time that coincides with the management of the crisis. It allows for the mobilisation of exceptional resources and the spreading of information to protect citizens in a crisis.

Intelligence services assess the terrorist threat and their analysis allows the General Secretary of Defence and National Security (SGDSN) to establish the general strategy of the security plan which involves implementing security measures within the framework of significant national events; security measures on specific key dates like the beginning of the school year or end-of-year festivities and apply a national system of emergency protection if a terrorist attack takes place in France or abroad.

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