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In Monaco, zero tolerance for disrespecting police officers

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© Monaco Tribune

The Principality’s officers are quick to file complaints as soon as their authority is called into question. 

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At the Monaco Correctional Court, it is not uncommon to see uniformed police officers involved in assault cases. Last October, for example, a Belgian man was sentenced to four months in prison and fined 9,000 euros for insulting police officers.

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And in February, a Monegasque man was sentenced to six months in prison for causing a disturbance in his neighbourhood and insulting the officers during his arrest. In the same month, a Beausoleil man received a two-month suspended sentence, again for insulting Monegasque police officers.

Zero tolerance

There are many such incidents. Hence the Principality’s zero tolerance policy with regard to aggression, whether physical or verbal. As the police officer represents public authority, “the perpetrators of verbal and/or physical aggression are, deliberately or unwittingly, targeting the State’s authority,” explains the Department of the Interior. “The officer will therefore file a complaint whenever this authority is called into question.”

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Do all complaints end up in court? The answer is no. “After a complaint has been filed by a civil servant who has been the victim of an assault, the ‘investigating’ department initiates a procedure which is passed on to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. It is the PPO who decides whether or not the case should be referred to the Correctional Court,” states the Department of the Interior, adding that checks on the ground act primarily as a deterrent.

Responsiveness

While the authorities’ objective is to ensure a high level of security in the Principality, the Police Department can rely on the responsiveness of the Monegasque justice system. “The judiciary is fully on board with the zero-tolerance policy, pursuing offences reported by the police.”

And this severity comes as a  surprise to many. “While most visitors are pleased that the Principality acts in this way, some may be surprised by our methods, our presence on the ground and our responsiveness,” admits the Department of the Interior. “Some, including people who have already had dealings with police departments abroad, are sometimes not very cooperative.”


Reminder of the rules in force

The easiest way to avoid trouble in Monaco is to be respectful, a tip that applies in any country in fact! But to respect the local rules, you need to know what they are, so let’s remind ourselves of some of them:

  • First of all, it is forbidden to insult the Prince or the Princely Family in public. In addition to a hefty fine, you could face up to five years in prison.
  • Recreational drones are also forbidden in Monaco. Taking aerial photographs without the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority could result in six days to one month in prison and/or a fine of €9,000.
  • Anyone entering or leaving Monaco in possession of €10,000 in cash must declare the sum to the Police Department. Otherwise, it could be seized or confiscated. This is part of the fight against money laundering, terrorism funding and corruption.
  • Use pedestrian crossings. Surprising as it may seem, jaywalkers may be fined up to 45 euros. Yes, it ‘pays’ to be respectful in Monaco!