Since 2018, Commander Lionel Fossier is still a police officer but in Agen. He started and ended his career in Marseille. His gaze on the Phocaean city sticks like a tracing paper to the film Bac Nord.
In less than a month in the country, the film by Marseillais Cédric Jimenez had recorded 1,204,557 admissions as of September 10. In the flood of spectators who propelled this plunge into the northern districts of Marseille at the top of the box office, Lionel Fossier has a particular look. Since 2018, he has been a delegate for police-population cohesion within the public security department in Agen. Originally from Nîmes, he arrived in Marseille in 1990.
He did not leave it, becoming the boss of the 80 police officers of the BAC Sud (anti-crime brigade) for five years before taking the reins of the security company between 2009 and 2018, the year of his departure. In this function, he led the intervention units often called in the northern districts of Marseille against urban violence.
“It’s a vast playing field,” he smiled with the memory of the daily adrenaline skyrocketing rate. “The attacks were frequent there, it was always tense. The colleagues are in a dangerous zone and the film reflects this tension well. Its strength is that it was shot in the northern districts except for an intervention scene.”
“Attitudes of cops”
The film ? “I was afraid to see an insipid film. Jimenez is very well documented. He relied on a police referent that I know well. When I see Gilles Lellouche, I see another colleague. The attitudes, the postures in the interventions are really cop attitudes. You really see the work of cops, it’s really the first film I see with street cops. A lot of street police can identify themselves. Bac Nord is very close to reality […] The daily life of a BAC chief is to know how many cars he has, and if they are all running. “
Lionel Fossier remembers an intervention in the city of Bassens with his security company, or these buildings with accesses blocked by hypermarket carts. “Every day we dismantled and every day they came back.” In Marseille as elsewhere, “working in the cities is not just sending the police to war. In Marseille, we discovered clandestine mosques in closed social centers.”
A first downside, however. In Bac Nord, the director uses in the background the legal troubles of three police officers. In 2012, they were 18 to be the target of an investigation by the General Inspectorate of the National Police, the IGPN. “On this point, the film should be taken with a grain of salt. The real deal is not the same as in the film.”
Lionel Fossier was in command of the security company. “We knew that there was an investigation of beef and carrots as we say back home. It did not relax anyone. I had several to manage, and we continued to work.” The other criticism concerns the “stups plan. A BAC never goes up alone.”
Of “pure politics”
Almost ten years later, Lionel Fossier has not given up. “This case was pure politics, it did not justify such a media impact even if anomalies were noted within the North Bac.” He does not go any further, since the legal proceedings are not over.
“Marseille has always been Marseille. The organized crime has left the public highway to enter white collar crime.” he said, as if to echo the visit of the President of the Republic at the beginning of September. “What is proposed remains interesting even if no one has the miracle solution. Only ants work makes it possible to contain the delinquency.”