From the July 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard
Superintendent Maigret of the Paris police:
“You know, Pardon, people imagine we're there to track down criminals and get confessions from them. That’s just another of the mistaken notions that drift around until everyone is so used to them that nobody thinks of calling them into question. In point of fact our chief job is to protect the State in the first place — whatever government is in power — with its institutions; in the second place the currency, public property and private property; and then, last of all, the lives of the individual private citizens.”
“Did you ever take a look into the Penal Code? You have to read as far as page 177 before you come to anything about crimes against human beings. One day later on, when 1 retire. I’ll work it out precisely. But let’s say that three-quarters of the Code, if not four-fifths, is concerned with goods and chattels, real estate, forged currency, forgeries of public and private documents, falsification of wills, etc., etc. In short, with money in all its shapes and forms . . . to such an extent that Article 264, on mendicancy, comes before Article 295, on wilful homicide.”
“The newspapers give the greatest amount of space to my service—the Crime Squad, as it has come to be called—because it’s the most sensational. But in actual fact we’re less important, in the eyes of the Minister of the Interior, for example, than General Information or the Finance Section.”
From Maigret and the Lazy Burglar by Georges Simenon.