A budget which could reach nearly 500 million euros for unmeasured results… The Court of Auditors made public this Thursday a summary “addressed on December 2, 2021 to the Minister of the Interior, on the video protection plan of the prefecture de police de Paris (PVPP)” in order to share observations and recommendations.

And reading this 7-page document, one has the impression of being faced with a frenzy of installation of video surveillance cameras, but without any control or feedback.

First at the budgetary level, the PVPP designed in 2010, initially related to a budget of 225.1 million euros to reach 31 December 2020, 343 million.

But the Court specifies that "the estimate of the complete cost at the end of the project [in 2026] is 433 to 481 million euros depending on the scenarios adopted", in particular with the 2024 Olympic Games. At a minimum, therefore, notes the Court , the budget will experience a "52.4% increase".

Behind this increase, hides in particular the response to the terrorist threat via the anti-terrorist plan, security pact and tourism plan.

The bad option of PPP

But there is also the choice of entering into a public-private partnership (PPP) “with the company IRIS PVPP, created for the occasion, and bringing together two subsidiaries of ENGIE and EDF”.

However, the Court of Auditors no longer wants to hear about it for renewal.

"The use of this type of contract and its method of financing have proven to be unsuitable and costly and it is recommended that this type of contract no longer be used after 2026", writes the Court.

And to cite this incredible example: “the late delivery of the works did not have the effect of inflicting a penalty on the service provider but, on the contrary, of paying him compensation of 1.4 million euros”.

To cope with this inflation of costs, the Court recommends asking for a "participation of the City of Paris through a fee".

It is not won.

The explosion of the budget resulted in an increase in the number of devices deployed from a thousand cameras in the initial PVPP to 3,762 cameras today.

Except that their deployment is not at all optimized.

CCTV devices "are concentrated today in the central districts of Paris and the main axes of circulation such as the avenue des Champs Elysées, and not in the most criminogenic areas of the capital", writes the Court of Auditors.

Thus there is less than one camera per 1,000 inhabitants in the 20th arrondissement, compared to more than 11 in the 1st arrondissement.

Impossible to know the effectiveness of the device

More generally, “the absence of an evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the PVPP has persisted since 2010”, underlines the document.

Basically we are deploying more and more cameras but without really knowing if it is useful.

The Court of Auditors specifies a little further on: "Beyond emblematic examples of the use of the PVPP in certain cases, the police headquarters has neither aggregated data on these uses, nor indicators making it possible to assess efficiency.

At the end of the documents, the Court of Auditors puts forward six recommendations to bring some order to this plan at a massive cost but at a more than light assessment.

Among them, "to establish a plan for financing the expenses linked to the PVPP project until 2026", "to initiate without delay an evaluation of the effectiveness of the PVPP in the prevention of delinquency and the elucidation of offences", or even " acquire a doctrine for the use of the PVPP and video in general”.

Suffice to say that there is work to justify such expenses.

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  • Court of Audit

  • Police

  • Video surveillance

  • Paris

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