The Le Roux-Savary law (n°2016-339) on preventing and combatting incivilities, public security threats and terrorist attacks on public transport, which was enacted on 22 March 2016, strengthens the powers of public transport operators. What does the law say?
The law provides new tools for combatting fraud and reinforcing security while clarifying the intervention framework, notably for RATP security staff and network security teams (GPSR).
RATP and fraud
Fraud: how much does it cost?
Fraud accounts for 171 million euros in lost revenue every year for RATP, the equivalent of 23 metro trains or 475 buses. It has a direct impact on the replacement of rolling stock, transport services and passenger comfort.
Combatting fraud is not only a major economic challenge, but also a veritable question of citizenship. In a RATP-CSA survey conducted in March 2015, 77% of respondents said they were irritated by fraud.
When fines are issued, any offenders without a valid transport pass or ticket must present identification. If they fail to do so, the security agents are authorised to make them leave the station immediately.
When fines are being issued, any offenders are required to remain at the inspection or security officer’s disposition. If they fail to do so, they risk up to 2 months imprisonment and a 7,500 euro fine.
Intentionally reporting a false address or identity is punishable by 2 months of prison and a 3,750 euro fine.
The law also prohibits “fraudster mutuals”, associations that cover an offender’s fines in exchange for a regular fee: failure to comply with this measure could lead to 6 months imprisonment and a 45,000 euro fine.
Another new measure prohibits the circulation of messages signalling the presence of inspection or security agents on the transport network, which is punishable by two months of prison and a 3,750 euro fine.
The Le Roux-Savary law maintains severe punishment for regular fraudsters (the number of unpaid fines to qualify as a “regular” was reduced from 10 to 5), who risk 6 months of prison and a fine of 7,500 euros.
Lastly, security agents are now authorised to conduct their missions in civilian clothes while remaining under oath and carrying arms. Implementation of this measure is highly regulated: agents must receive prior authorisation and specific training before operating in civilian clothing.
When intervening, agents must carry visible signs of belonging to the company, and they must carry their professional badge with them, which must be presented on request.
These restrictions are a reminder that as a general rule, in-house service providers are normally dressed in uniform, and that missions in civilian clothes are meant to be an exception.
RATP and security
RATP is more attentive than ever to its passengers’ security. The Le Roux-Savary law strengthens its scope of action.
RATP (and SNCF) security agents are now authorised to proceed with visual baggage inspections, and to search bags with the owners’ consent. In case of refusal, the passenger may be asked to leave the station immediately.
Under special circumstances during a serious public security threat, network security agents (GPSR) are authorised to make body searches, according to the terms to be defined in the application decree. Searches may only be carried out when authorised by a prefectural order that specifies the duration and location of such searches.
Individuals must first agree to be searched, and body searches may only be carried out by someone of the same sex.
RATP and SNCF deploy new prevention agents responsible for security
Security agents must undergo specific training in compliance with the specifications in a joint decree by the Interior Minister and the Transport Minister.
SNCF and RATP will establish a joint code of conduct under the supervision of UCSTC, the public transport security coordination unit, which will also be enacted.
Security agents will operate under the authority of the police, who will have access to the premises where these security agents regularly conduct their services. Any agent hampering an inspection risks a year of prison and a 15,000 euro fine.
An annual report will be issued to the Defender of Rights.
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