What are a mayor’s ‘police powers’?
In a recent edition you mention the ‘police powers’ of a mayor. What does this refer to? P.W.
The mayor officially has ‘police powers’ to maintain peace and order, safety and public hygiene in his or her commune, however in reality these powers are usually delegated to officers of the municipal police.
Areas of competency include safety and traffic flow (including parking), markets, keeping good order during public gatherings, checking businesses do not sell underweight goods and preventing or assisting with accidents, fires, floods and landslides.
The powers also extend to such diverse areas as proper burials and cremations in the commune, supervision of ports and bathing areas, protection of children, demolition of dangerous buildings, maintenance of chimneys, dealing with dangerous animals, cleanliness of rivers and ponds, and enforcing rules on signs and adverts.
Occasionally a mayor or his or her deputies may be called on to carry out investigations into a resident of the commune as part of a judicial enquiry (on instruction from a public prosecutor or judge). He or she is also expected to report any crimes he or she comes across in the course of their work.