The Police in Paris are also called the Prefecture de Police
If you are going on holiday to Paris, then you may come across large crowds at certain times of the day, in specific places like on the metro or at some of the well known tourist attractions in Paris, and the holiday season is even busier with thousands of foreign travellers arriving in the city each day.
Unfortunately, for the unsuspecting traveller, this does mean that during the holiday season there are more incidents of petit thefts from pick pockets and minor incidents involving con artists, but the Paris Police have a fantastic system in place.
Over a number of years the police in Paris or the Prefecture de Police, as it is known, has been developing a system that is designed to help foreign travellers and tourists that visit this fabulous city of lights.
There are actually now around 100 different community police public reception points that are dotted around the city of Paris covering all 20 Arrondissements, and the main central police station in each district is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, which is where people can go to get help and assistance.
Foreign tourists are also now able to speak to bi-lingual police offers at a police station to lodge a complaint such as for stolen property. However, even if there is not a police officer available that speaks your language, then there is a fabulous system in place called the Systeme d’Acceil des Victimes Etrangeres, which basically translates to Reception System for Foreign Victims.
The Systeme d’Accueil des Victimes Etrangeres, or SAVE system in short, is available at the reception desk of any police station in Paris and this software is available in twenty different languages and has been specifically designed to help a foreign tourist report a crime, accident, etc. and the police officer or civil servant will then even be able to provide a receipt and documentation in the victims own language, which of course can make things far simpler for procedures such as a replacement passport, contacting a foreign embassy, even putting in a claim on your travel insurance, etc.
During the summer months there are even more community police officers patrolling the streets due to the amount of tourists on holiday in Paris, they are also there to help with basic information and questions such as directions to some of the tourist attractions in Paris that you may be having a hard job finding.
But they can also provide assistance in the case of assault, theft or loss and if necessary get you to the nearest hospital or police station in order to file a complaint utilising the SAVE system.
You will also see a community police offer wearing a badge that has flags on, and this indicates what languages that officer speaks, and again, this is a service that the police in Paris have put in place to make life easier for foreign visitors.
Welcoming visitors and keeping people safe while they are on holiday in Paris is a priority of the community police force, but unfortunately, no place is ever going to be without any incidents, especially in a major city or major tourist destination.
So if you do happen to get any personal belongings stolen, then you should go to the nearest police reception point as soon as possible to lodge a complaint, and the receipt document you are given in your language will also be required in order to make a claim on your travel insurance.
Yet, as you often hear the phrase, “there is never one around when needed”, but in these instances you can call the European Emergency Number 112 from any phone or a mobile phone, which is also the emergency telephone number for all services including medical emergencies.
However, within France and Paris there are also the standard emergency numbers you can call
17 - this is for a police emergency
18 - this is for the fire brigade or an ambulance
15 - this is for the emergency medical assistance service
And of course 112 - which is the European recognised Emergency Number for any emergency service in EU countries and several others.
Of course, the Paris Police also offer guidelines on how to keep yourself as safe as possible, like never leaving items unattended, never carry too much cash or show any cash in public, never take lifts off strangers, ensure all personal items are hidden from view or are secure on you and not in a backpack, etc.
But there are also certain things you should do when you are preparing for your holiday in Paris, or prior to travelling anywhere abroad. Points like having copies of all your documentation, making sure you are legal for driving in France, making notes of the emergency numbers, ensuring you have your EHIC medical cards, how the healthcare system works in France and what to do in a medical emergency, etc, which will also give you peace of mind before your holiday even starts.
And once you have arrived on your holiday in Paris, then there are also tourist information centres that will also be able to provide guides, maps and much more, so that you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest and hopefully, like the majority of people, without any incidents.
The most major tourist information centre is located close to the Tuileries Gardens and The Musee du Louvre, which is the most famous Museum in Paris and can be found at 25 Rue des Pyramides, 75001, Paris. However, there are also other at the train stations such as the Gare de Lyon, and the Gare du Nord, which is where the Eurostar train arrives and departs from.
But even if after taking all the precautions, if you are still one of the unlucky ones that either loses something or has something stolen, then at least you know that the Community Police Service Officers in Paris are there to you help you out, and even in your own language!