The gendarmerie is struggling to recruit. So to attract more, this force placed under the authority of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and attached to the Ministry of the Interior is moving closer to the youngest. At the risk of attracting the wrath and questioning of the less young.
When the gendarmerie flirts with young people via video games
“No need to spend money to get the best Skins. The gendarmerie has been available for 300 years. » This is the message posted by the institution this weekend on X, formerly Twitter, with a direct link to the recruitment page of the French gendarmerie.
Here, the gendarmerie is expressly targeting an audience that loves video games; the post is also accompanied by a video which uses the graphic codes of well-known games such as Rainbow Six Siege and Call of Duty.
— National Gendarmerie (@Gendarmerie) November 18, 2023
The reactions to this post have been numerous, and many struggle to understand the link that can be made between the profession of police officer in real life and that of a violent video game. Some point to “very clumsy” advertising, others make the link with the sometimes very violent repression of the French police towards its population. In any case, communication seems to have completely failed, even if the comments are less harsh on Facebook, where the audience is less young.
Gendarmerie and video games, a strange rapprochement
This is not the first time that the gendarmerie has tried to seduce people by using gaming like and taking the graphic and lexical codes of video games. At the beginning of November, the institution was listed among the exhibitors at Paris Games Week; a flocked “Gendarmerie gaming” cap was also seen on the stand.
The goal ? Raise awareness of professions and recruit. As highlighted in a report from the Court of Auditors published in spring 2023, the gendarmerie and the police are having difficulty recruiting with a record number of departures broken in 2021 then in 2022. An increase in departures of +25% in four years for the gendarmerie and +33% for the police.
Bridging the gap between violent video games designed to let off steam and a job that requires the greatest discernment in dangerous situations is a nevertheless risky bet. Making people believe that there are similarities between the two universes does not really seem to appeal if we are to believe the reactions posted under the institution's communication.
Some also recall the government's clumsy remarks towards video games and denounce a double standard where video games are singled out when things go wrong, and are at the same time used to recruit.
While France witnessed urban violence in the summer of 2023 following the death of Nahel by police shooting, Emmanuel Macron declared “We sometimes have the feeling that some of them are living on the street with the video games that have addicted them”. A sentence which went down very poorly and which forced the president to tone down his remarks a few days later.