Whilst having my Saturday pint I was surprised to see 2 officers from Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage walk in for their lunch with automatic pistols hanging from their belts. I was even more surpised when they started drinking beers. I suppose if they are going after armed poachers they do need some protection but am staggered they are allowed to drink on duty. I asked one of them and he said that alcohol limit is the same for driving. Slightly different to the UK where I think the limit is 0 for armed officers.
It is part of their uniform. It is normal to have a drink with one's lunch. The Affaires Maritimes, the Gendarmarie, the ONF, the Douanes, the Police de Ville, the Police Nationale and all branches of the military carry guns. The only outfit that does not are the Pompiers. They will mostly have a glass or two of wine with their meals. Get over it, it is how it is and perfectly normal.
@Brian, of course, as you probably guessed, there is a police body to police the police, but they prefer to wait for an accident to occur or at least for complaints to pile up until they can't get away with ignoring them any more!
When I first started in the Fire Service in UK in the 70s, most stations had a bar on them!
@Véronique It's not them being armed that surprised me but the fact they were drinking. I remember a friend in the UK saying his brother who drove an Armed Response Vehicle had to abstain for 24h before going on duty.
The Ste Foy gendarmes seem regularly to have lunch in one or other of the local restaurants - I'm assuming very often as I don't have lunch there all that much & yet have lunched alongside them fairly often. They can't very well leave their weapons in their van.
A couple of our hunt association members are gendarmes. Both have 4x4s, drink too much, drive hazardously and one certainly has his shotgun cocked when it should be empty barrels and open. Given the sample they set, no wonder some other hunters are as dangerous as they are - nobody polices the police hypothesis on offer there...
We had lunch in a small restaurant in St Foy La Grande yesterday and there
was a group of 8 policeman sitting on the next table enjoying their oriental
meal. They were in uniform and armed.
I suppose that at least they will be less intoxicated than the chasse!