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Gendarmerie convert campervan to reach rural areas of France

Coming to a village near you? The roving campervan has been rolling into communes in Normandy to bring gendarmerie services to more isolated areas

A close-up photo of a gendarmerie van

The campervan is decked out in blue livery and also carries bikes on the back to enable officers to offer services even deeper into rural communities Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Gendarmerie in Normandy have converted a campervan and are using it to connect with communities in more rural areas of the department. 

The van, which is decked out in navy blue livery, is now travelling in the seven communes of Molay-Littry, Bonnebosq, Noues de Sienne, Clécy, Moyaux, Blainville-sur-Orne and Cagny.

It has the gendarmerie logo and ‘brigade mobile de proximité - gendarmerie’ on the side.

It is the second van of its kind to be used by the service.

The roving gendarmerie are aiming to offer a more accessible service to residents of these more rural communities. Four gendarmes, including two reservists, travel inside.

The van also carries electric pushbikes on a rack, and the gendarmes also use these to visit even deeper into villages, and speak with more rural residents.

Christophe Junqua, commander of the gendarmerie in Calvados, told France 3: “We can take complaints, give advice, and offer crime prevention measures.”

The truck has worked as a complementary, extra option to residents, whose local gendarmerie stations may normally only be open a few days a week. 

Emmanuelle, a resident of the village of Bonnebosq, said: "During the presidential election, I wanted to vote by proxy, but the gendarmerie is only open two afternoons each week, so I couldn't vote. Now we feel that the gendarmes are more attentive to our needs.”

The van system could be rolled out further to other rural communes, and areas in which the population is far from the nearest gendarmerie station.

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