How racism by France's railway police goes unpunished

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The internal police force run by state-owned railway company SNCF is supposed to protect both passengers and other rail staff from attack or abuse. But officers in one section of the force in the south of the France have been accused of sending a racist text message, playing neo-Nazi songs and mistreating passengers of North African origin. According to documents seen by Mediapart, senior management at SNCF is fully aware of the claims, yet has failed to take any action. Meanwhile one of the officers who was a victim of the taunts has been ostracised by colleagues. Michaël Hajdenberg reports.

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Racist behaviour by officers working for France's railway police is going unpunished, Mediapart can reveal. Two internal documents from the public railway company SNCF seen by Mediapart show that officers from the transport police or Sécurité ferroviaire (Suge) have written a racist text message and broadcast neo-Nazi songs in their offices at one station. They have also allegedly been involved in violent and discriminatory conduct towards passengers from a North African background. Yet the management at the state-owned SNCF has chosen not to take disciplinary action over these incidents, even though its own officials have identified them as serious breaches of their ethical code and potentially open to criminal prosecution. Moreover, the person who raised the alarm, an agent who was the victim of racial taunts, has himself been subject to an official warning by the company.