Strengthening of foot patrols


"There are no lawless zones." Upon his arrival at the head of the Saint-Martin gendarmerie, the commander Sébastien Manzoni was able to confirm it. It was out of the question that his men avoid certain districts of the french sides. Nevertheless, he was aware that some zones were more sensitive than others. Therefore, he implemented a new strategy consisting in foot patrols, precisely in Sandy Ground.

"I did not invent anything", said the squadron leader. Of course. Nevertheless, seeing gendarmes on foot in the streets of Sandy Ground is quite innovative. He took advantage of the reinforcement of military personnel announced by François Hollande during his visit to Saint-Martin on May 8, 2015 to establish this platoon in Nettle Bay and Sandy Ground. With a very special mission: reach out to the population. In other words, get out of their cars and walk. And it works. "The feedback is very positive," said the commander. The population sees the gendarmes differently. "People speak to us, they feel reassured," he added. The insults which the military personnel must often endure in Saint-Martin are less frequent. People mistrust them less. Acts of delinquency have decreased.

In view of this success, they have decided to extend these “community-based” patrols to the French Quarter. Due to the geographical configuration of the sector, the gendarmes will have bicycles there. Their establishment is part of the Municipal Contract that the Collectivité signed at the end of 2015 with the State and various partners.

At the same time, the squadron leader would like to strengthen the effectiveness of these community-based patrols by joining forces with the territorial police force. This has been made possible thanks to the agreement recently signed between the Collectivité and the prefecture. "The territorial police force is a law enforcement partner with the gendarmerie", concluded the commander for whom their knowledge of the territory is a valuable asset. It should be noted that the territorial police will soon receive one week of training by the gendarmes.




In the medium term, these mixed community-based patrols will also be carried out throughout the entire French side. For its part, the gendarmerie has already started its foot patrols beyond Sandy Ground. "In December, we indeed carried out three hundred foot patrols among which more than half were carried out in Marigot," said the commander.

Despite the violent armed robbery of a jewelry store in broad daylight last December in the Marina Royale, the number of these offenses, a true scourge in Saint-Martin, decreased in 2015. As the next delinquency report should prove, which will be delivered by the prefect after the Prime Minister has addressed this subject nationally.

Estelle Gasnet