Policing styles are reflected in law enforcement agencies’ methods, deci- sions, and priorities. Based on an ethnographic study of police work in two major French metropolitan areas, this article identifies the style of policing enforced in France in light of discretionary identity checks. Even though there are nuances based on the variety of police units, places, and watch commanders, the style of policing remains mostly proactive and confronta- tional, which is reflected in the multiplicity of units with an aggressive man- date. Identity checks are used to detect criminal activity, control the territo- ry, and assert police authority, especially when the latter is challenged.
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