I suspect that’s most police forces in most countries Jane, that’s why they have such charming nicknames. The little I’ve heard about our local law enforcement officers is that the Police are a friendlier bunch and more part of the community than the Gendarmes but that would tally with one being a civil force and one military. Anecdotally, I think the Police are better paid too.
Like any sizeable organisation, it is very possible for an individual to have a bad experience even if, overall, things are OK, or even good. In Jane’s case lifelong distruct of the gendarmes seems very understandable.
Equally I’m sure that law enforcement officers of all shades and nationalities spend so much time with the less desireable elements of society that it can be difficult for them to treat normal people normally (especially if they mistakenly think you might be guilty of some wrongdoing).
FWIW my only two interactions with the Gendarmerie are 1) getting nicked speeding on the D5 north of Questembert (about 2005 if I recall correctly). I’m not sure we were speeding and we seemed to get pulled in preference to the French car ahead of us who was doing at least the same speed but the interaction tself was friendly enough. In that “you have no choice here but I’ll try to make it not too painful if you don’t kick up a fuss” kind of way
The other occasion was waling through Campsegret, just north of Bergerac where we chanced upon a group of four Gendarmes skulking behind some hedges mounting (you guessed it) another speed trap. At least there was no chance of being pulled We gave them a cheery “Bonjour” and a wave which was somewhat sheepishly returned.
Are the flics still able to have an alcoholic drink with their main meal of the day whilst on duty? I know there was some problems a few years ago when the govt. tried to withdraw this ‘right’ from the CRS but not sure if it was upheld. Armed civil servants able to drink alcohol whilst carrying a weapon…hummmmmmm…
I mean, what could possibly go wrong…
Why civil servants? Surely that should apply to everyone.
In defence of Gendarmes - I’ve been stopped twice whilst driving. The first was a general check to slow traffic in a village in the Jura. The Gendarme was friendly and quite jolly/jokey and handled his initial surprise at my being English with Gallic aplomb (though he couldn’t hide his apprehension). The second was also in the Jura (I was working over there) and involved a breathalyser as there had been a nasty on that stretch of road the previous day. Again the officer, although acting officially and efficient, was very pleasant and kindly explained for stopping me.
On another occasion, a stag landed on our car’s bonnet and we were advised to go to the Gendarmerie. We had to wait for lunch-time to finish, it’s true, but the couple who dealt with us, and who had been about to go out on patrol it seemed, were kind, helpful and very pleasant. They called our insurer for us and tried some English on us (though he did confuse the amount of our excess at this time by saying “two thousand” instead of “two hundred”, which gave me a start), and made us a lukewarm cup of tea. They also arranged the garage to come and collect us and our poor car for repair.
As you have mentioned ‘dishy’ I feel that I can mention that the lady Gendarme was a little more than dishy! My wife remarked on it before I did, but I had to agree with her just as soon as I was able to get my jaw off the floor!!!
I don’t see you much on here which is a shame as I really enjoyed reading your post.
Thanks for sharing your story. Was the car a write off? I imagine the damage was enormous. I once hit a sheep in the Scottish Highlands at about 60 mph. The sheep died instantly (thank goodness) and the car was horribly damaged. Really horrible experience.
I don’t post often (the interchange above between two members is reason enough) but, when I have something to say on an item that interests me, well…
The car was repaired, thankfully, and the car alright. The stag was not so lucky, though. Even though he got up and ran off, I fear the hunt (that caused the problem in the first place by chasing their prey towards a main road) got after him. ️:rage:
I was very grateful to those who stopped at the scene and advised us to go the Gendarmerie as the help we got was exemplary.
An acquaintance of mine’s car slid into the ditch because there was so much gravel left by road works.
She is a cautious driver, but nevertheless ended up in the ditch.
I don’ t know why but she 'phoned the gendarmes who proceeded to issue her with a ticket for careless driving even though they were nowhere in the vicinity of the accident.
She felt compelled to pay as if she didn’t it would cost more and she felt that she couldn’t win anyway.
This was in the Bresse.
Oh dear, Jane… what a shame that she didn’t have enough French to take the matter further… gravel on the roads can be disastrous.
Seems the Gendarmes will be out on the roads in the Dordogne … noting exemplary driving… and 50 euro vouchers are to be “won” by the best drivers.
France Bleu Perigord will be doing live-interviews with the drivers concerned.
If I hadn’t read it, I’d have thought it was an April fools joke…
I wonder how many they stopped were Brits?
Jane… they are doing this on Friday… they are stopping and congratulating good drivers
Because the discussion is about the police…:-
Sorry, how many will be Brits then?
We have been in overtakenby drivers with a death wish too many times lately.
They must be psychic to be sure no other driver is coming round that bend or out of that dip.
Only the ones that are still alive to tell the tale
Exactly. Why put in unnecessary detail? It makes you sound as though you have something against public employees.