A call for tenders to recruit crisis communicators from prosecutors

A few hours have passed since the discovery of the body of the priest Olivier Maire, found murdered in his room, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre (Vendée), on August 9. And already, social networks are on fire: the alleged assassin, who surrendered to the gendarmes, is none other than the arsonist of Nantes cathedral in 2020, a Rwandan in an irregular situation placed under judicial control, and taken in by the missionary brothers from Montfort when he left the psychiatric hospital on July 29.

As soon as the information appeared, Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, and Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (RN), started the controversy on Twitter. Political reactions follow one another. The news channels run in a loop. A voice is missing, however. That of the deputy prosecutor of the Republic of La Roche-sur-Yon, in charge of the investigation opened for intentional homicide. However, the court switchboard is saturated with calls from journalists.

Alone at the helm in the heart of summer

“While the politicians are all going to comment, that the controversy mounts, the prosecution refuses to answer the phone and“ will send a press release at the end of the day ”. When will justice understand the value of communicating? “, gets angry, on Twitter, Cécile Ollivier, head of the police-justice department of BFM-TV.

Faced with media pressure and the insistence of the Ministry of Justice, Deputy Prosecutor Yannick Le Goater, alone at the helm in the middle of the summer, finally held a press conference at the end of the afternoon. All organized in a hurry, in the tiny poorly lit premises of the Mortagne-sur-Sèvres gendarmerie.

“It’s always the same scenario. The prosecutor’s phone explodes under calls from journalists, the police can no longer reach him, and in the end, it harms the investigation. »A ministry adviser

It is to deal with this kind of emergency that the Ministry of Justice is preparing to provide magistrates with crisis communication advisers. A call for tenders was launched on July 26, to which agencies have one month to respond. In its order, Place Vendôme specifies that the consultants must be reachable within an hour and deploy to the courts of appeal and provincial prosecutors for seventy-two hours to “Strategic consulting services and the implementation of crisis communication”, including logistical support for a press conference.

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