Paris police to be equipped with assault rifles and Kalashnikov-resistant shields
For the first time, police will be given more armour just a few months after the attack in November during which 130 were killed across the French capital.
French police commandos pose with a bullet-hole riddled shield they used in the final assault on the Bataclan bombers.
9:58PM GMT 29 Feb 2016
Parisian police will be given assault rifles and Kalashnikov-resistant shields in a first for the French capital’s officers nearly four months after a terror attack killed 130 people, the interior minister said on Monday.
The weapons, up until now reserved for elite intervention forces, will allow members of certain police units “to intervene as fast as possible to reinforce the first patrols, notably when we are confronted with mass killings,” said Bernard Cazeneuve.
Police patrol the Eiffel Tower after the attack in November.
“Some of the criminals you are confronted with no longer hesitate to use heavy weapons against you, and you must be equipped with the means to fire back, and adequate protection,” Mr Cazeneuve told officers at a Parisian police station.
The anti-criminal (BAC) police units, who most often operate in plain clothes, will be given 204 Heckler and Koch G36 assault rifles, some 1,800 bullet proof vests and 241 shields that are resistant to Kalashnikov bullets.
The new equipment, which also includes Taser guns and other items, is worth €17 million (£13 million).
Members of French police intervention unit respond to a hostage situation in March last year.
The boosting of police capability comes after jihadist gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs and suicide bombers attacked a concert hall and several restaurants and cafes around Paris on November 13, killing 130 and leaving hundreds injured.
A member of the BAC police units – armed only with a handgun – was the first to arrive on scene at the Bataclan concert hall where he shot dead one of the jihadists who killed 90 people during a show.
However he was forced to retreat and await specialised police officers as he was not sufficiently equipped against the two attackers still alive in the building.
The devastating attack saw authorities put in place a state of emergency which has been extended until the end of May.