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French gendarmes use humour online to deliver message

Officers use light-hearted approach on social media to hammer home important safety messages

14 December 2020
By Connexion journalist

You might not think it when they flag you down, but gendarmes in France actually do have a sense of humour - and officers in the Vosges are proving the point with a light-hearted turn on social media.

Gendarmes in the Vosges temper serious messages covering topics from road safety, lockdown rules and forest fires, with humour, and clearly do not get riled in the real world when members of the public complain about the inconvenience of being stopped while driving.

Their Twitter feed has become something of a blockbuster. Some 26,000 followers - including a few important political figures such as the mayor of Paris and a number of MPs - see messages every day from the officers, a couple of which pass on important messages in a humorous manner.

Each message - even the humorous ones - are developed and refined in private meetings,often online - and are approved by a commander before being sent out. And they are proving so popular that officers are even being sent gifts from online fans!

The success of the Vosges officers' social media tone is now being copied in other departments, notably Charente-Maritime, Vienne, Ardèche, and Seine-et-Marne
"We wanted to show that the gendarmes are also people who live in the territories, who have children and take part in activities," said one officer in an interview with Le Monde, about the messages which regularly include cultural references.

This is the first one for Monday, December 14, which clearly seeks to offer a sense of perspective.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone is amused, and - this being the age of the keyboard warrior - some have chosen to vent their spleens in response. So, the gendarmes even have a message for the trolls out there.

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