- Prefectures in France
A prefecture ( _fr. préfecture) in
Francecan refer to :
*the "Chef-lieu de département", the town in which the administration of a "département" is located ;
*the "Chef-lieu de région", the town in which the administration of a "région" is located ;
*the jurisdiction of a "préfecture" ;
*the official residence or headquarters of a "préfet".
Role of the "préfecture" in "départements"
There are 100 "préfectures" in France, one for each "département" . The official in charge is the prefect ( _fr. préfet). The "préfecture" is an administration that belongs to the Ministry of the Interior, and is therefore in charge of the delivery of identity cards, driving licenses, passports, residency and work permits for foreigners, vehicle registration, registration of associations (creation, status modification, dissolution), and of the management of the
The prefect represents the national government at the local level and as such exercises the powers that are constitutionally attributed to the national government.The prefect issues ordinances written for the application of local law, e.g. to close a building that does not conform to safety codes, or modify vehicular traffic regulations (speed limit, construction permits).
The governing body of the department is the general council "Conseil général", which is in charge of the building and maintenance of schools and roads, financial assistance to dependent people (disabled and elderly), and promotion of local economic development, etc. In the past, the prefect was head of the department, however, since 1982, the president of the "Conseil général" has assumed the role of chief executive of the "département".
There is an exception in
Paris(Île-de-France) and its three surrounding "départements". These "départements" are governed by a single "préfecture" for law enforcement and security purposes, which is the Prefecture of Police( _fr. préfet de police). The prefect of police has the power of law enforcement in Paris, which is a power usually invested in the mayorin other French communes.
Until 1977, Paris had no mayor and was mostly ruled by the prefect of police; a situation inherited from the
Paris Communeof 1871.
Divisions of the "départements"
The "départements" are divided into arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons. The "chef-lieu d'arrondissement" is the subprefecture or "sous-préfecture". The official in charge is the "sous-préfet". Cantons have relatively few competences, the most important of which being the local organisation of elections (cantons are electoral subdivisions).
Administrative divisions of France
French National Police
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