PARIS, Nov 19 (Reuters) - French police officers will be allowed to carry their weapon while off duty to protect civilians as long as France maintains the state of emergency following the Paris shootings, police said on Thursday.
French police spokesman Jerome Bonnet told BFM TV that police officers who volunteer would be able to carry their handgun in order to "protect themselves and the population in public places".
Police authorities have sent a note allowing this to all units, France Inter radio said on Thursday.
"This will allow off-duty police offers to be an additional force outside their hours," police union official Jean-Marc Bailleul said on ITELE television.
He added that off-duty policemen carrying their gun would have to wear an arm band to identify them as such.
The French government declared the state of emergency after a wave of attacks killed 129 across the French capital last Friday. It plans to extend it by three months. (Reporting by Marine Pennetier, writing by Geert De Clercq Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
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