Since 4 December, unaccompanied minors under 13 years old in Nice have been required to observe a curfew. The new rule, which was brought into force last Thursday by the chief of police of the Alpes-Maritimes departement stipulates that children found wandering around on their own will be conducted home.
The hours of curfew are from 11pm to 5am on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and will also apply in out-of-school hours, during the holidays, and during the period of the Nice Carnival.
The idea was mooted in November by Brice Hortefeux, the French minister of the interior, who put forward the idea of a targeted curfew applying only to those who had already been in trouble with the police. But the mayor of Nice, Christian Etrosi (who is also French Industry Minister), had this to say: “We are all parents and grandparents – and the idea of knowing that our 10- or 11-year-old, alone or accompanied by other youths, could be walking the streets after 11pm is unthinkable. We cannot afford to wait until his behaviour leads him into delinquency, either as a perpetrator or as a victim.’
In cases where a minor returned to his house reoffends, the law provides for his inclusion in a special file, after authorization by the CNIL (National Commision for Liberty and Information), and as a last recourse, the removal of certain allowances allocated to the family. These measures will apply to all under-13s, not only delinquents (for whom the case may well end up in court).