How to make a police complaint by video link from your home in France

Scheme allows most crimes to be reported online. It will roll out nationally this year

The scheme will rolled out nationwide throughout 2024
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The trial of a new police complaints procedure that can be carried out entirely from your home, is now underway in several French departments.

The ‘VisioPlainte’ scheme seeks to reduce congestion in police stations, freeing up officers and allowing victims of less serious criminal offences to give their accounts from the comfort of their own home.

It is suitable for most crimes including burglary, vandalism, violence, and fraud.

People who still want to make a complaint via an in-person visit to their local police station are still able to do so, however.

Currently, the trial involves certain police stations in the Sarthe and Yvelines departments, however it is set to be rolled out nationally across the country in the coming months.

A national police report estimates VisioPlainte will be available in all departments by autumn 2024.

How does it work?

To make a complaint, you will be able to access a website (either through an online search or your local police station) to set up an appointment. One current website where you can find the log-in is here, along with English instructions on how to use the system.

You can only connect using a ‘FranceConnect’ log-in.

Read more: What is the ‘FranceConnect’ button used for on websites?

You will be able to pick a time to give your statement to an officer from a list of available appointment slots.

This meeting will be confirmed and you will receive a link to join it at the scheduled time via an email or text message.

At the scheduled time, you use this link to join the meeting, where an officer will be waiting to take your complaint.

The process can be done through a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, provided your device has a functional webcam/camera and microphone of sufficient quality for the officer to be able to see and hear your clearly.

The connection is secure, and only available to you and the officer.

It is recommended to make your complaint from your own home or a private place where you cannot be overheard.

Read more: Five things you can use the government’s new legal app for

Not all complaints covered

People can use VisioPlainte for most complaints including theft, cyber bullying, fraud, violence, threats, etc.

However, there are two main exceptions: any complaint related to sexual assault/sexual violence, and any complaint regarding sexual offences involving a person under the age of 15, must still be made in person at a police station.

If officers believe your online complaint regarding other offences is serious enough, they may invite you to the station to make an in-person complaint, which they are within their right to do.

Online written complaints soon to be available

It will also be possible to hand in a complaint without an online visual meeting, for certain smaller offences.

These include theft, vandalism, fraud, and are mostly related to property issues, and not attacks against a person.

Another condition is that the perpetrator of the crime must be unknown to the individual.

The ‘pre-plainte’ scheme is being piloted in the Gironde department in south-west France and will also be rolled out nationally across the year.

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