Didier Lallement was the prefect of Paris police. He spoke to the Senate's Committee on Culture and Laws about the scandalous organization that was near the Stade de France, where the Champions League final took place on May 28th. These are the points that should be taken from his speech as well as the questions posed by senators.
The controversy surrounding the Stade de France has been raging for over two weeks. However, the prefect of police acknowledged that the management of the enclosure's order was "obviously a failure" He specifically mentioned "jocked or attacked" people and "the shaken appearance" of France. He said that it was an injury to him, and he expressed regrets about his foreign fans.
Didier Lallement insists that he is "solely responsible for" the events of the evening. The prefect added, "I accept full responsibility for the police management."
There has been controversy over photos of police officers gassing supporters and their families. The prefect stated twice again that tear gas was used on the forecourt to disperse supporters. This would have been a serious error.
He stated that he was sorry for "people of good will, there are some" who inhaled these gases. However, he said "the doctrine of maintaining order" is not at issue. Numerous senators disagreed, pointing out more recent incidents like the gassing at the Gare l'Est of travelers a few days back.
Didier Lallement admitted that there was a "problem of maneuvers" regarding tear gas at Stade de France. He concluded that "the decisions taken" were able to preserve "the bodily integrity of peoples and the holding of match".
Gerald Darmanin had presented the figure to justify overflows. According to the Minister of the Interior, 30,000-40,000 people were unable to obtain valid tickets near the stadium. FFF and UEFA reported that there had been "2,800 fake tickets." Many observers, including the British, have disputed this estimate.
Didier Lallemant, who was appearing before senators, stated that he "completely assumed” the number of 30,000-40,000 people found in front of Stade de France with no valid ticket. He added, "I was the one who gave this number to the minister." However, he stressed that he had never claimed that the figure was correct. He said that counting them to the nearest 5, 000 did not make a difference. He repeated this to senators, who pointed out that images taken around the stadium didn't seem to indicate that there were "30,000 to40,000" people.
The prefect stated that "The internal security force were not responsible for checking tickets" at exit of public transport. He also stressed "the responsibility to the organizer." He continued: "With the late arrival, this control had to be embolized" at exit of RER D, the regional express train in Paris. He regretted that the police headquarters didn't have any 'accurate information about Liverpool supporters.
The prefect was also asked by elected officials why the match wasn't considered a "risky". "The massive use of counterfeit banknotes was what was lacking in strategic information. That's correct, you can blame me. Didier Lallement replied, "I didn't expect such a large volume of counterfeit banknotes."
Several senators were not convinced and questioned the preparation of management of the order prior to the final. They wondered if the prefect of the police had considered the strike on the RER B and a note that was sent to the prefecture several days prior by the National Division for the Fight against Hooliganism. This provided for excessive behavior and the presence ticketless supporters.
Others senators were concerned by the British complaint form, which they claim is imprecise. It does not allow supporters to file complaints for physical attacks against police officers or supporters. It's a standard form. Didier Lallement recognized that it may be insufficient. It takes me by surprise. I'll be thinking about it.
On Thursday, officials from the French Football Federation, including Philippe Diallo (vice-president), Florence Hardouin (general manager), Erwan Le Prevost (director of institutional relations) and Didier Pinteaux (security manager), will be heard.
At 4:00 PM (2:00 PM GMT), Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram will be available for comment. He was also present at the Stade de France, but was the victim to pickpockets.