This issue does not focus on a central theme. It deals with different aspects of present day policing in W-Germany.
The editorial discusses the relationship between politics and police in the light of a forthcoming event: The annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is scheduled to take place in Berlin this fall. The attemps by several organizations and third-world-groups in Germany to inform about the dangerous role of the IMF in the world economic system will climax in September, when about 10.000 bankers and officials will meet in the city. Official sources already voice their concern about „the most difficult task of the Berlin police since the end of the Second World War“. The Berlin police force with its 12.000 members will be enlarged by another 2.500 men from the Federal Republic.
In the last CILIP (No. 29) we used a documentation and critical analysis of the drafts by the CDU/ FDP coalition regarding new internal security laws. The article discusses events in the lawmaking process during the last six months.
Gladbeck: The myth of violent production of security
In August a kidnapping occured in the FRG that was ended after two days by a special police task force. The kidnappers, who had earlier shot a 15 year old boy, killed one of their hostages in the final shoot down with the police. In our commentary we deal with a political aspect of the event: The frequently raised question whether the police should be granted the formal right to intentionally kill in such an incident. Police laws in most states of the FRG at present allow the use of weapons only in order to prevent an attack or an escape. In case of casualties those can only be justified with civil law paragraphs (self defense, defense in danger of a third person).
Our central point in the article is that new laws, while not being of any help in dealing with such incidents, at the same time encourage the police in deadly use of their weapons.
EbLT: A „Special Police Task Force“ of the Berlin Administration
After clashes between demonstrators and the police in Berlin-Kreuzberg on May 1, 1987, the police established a new „Anti-Riot Squad“. The special undertaking of this squad is to arrest criminal offenders at demonstrations and deliver definite proofs of their committed crime (so-called „beweissichere Festnahme“). Yet the actions of the squad got public recognition so far mostly because of their apparent brutality. After the „Anti-Riot Squad“ joined the Bavarian police in October 1987 for a demonstration in Wackersdorf, demonstrators filed 20 complaints about physical injuries received specifically from the Berlin squad. Its second appearance in Berlin was noted in public mostly because these „Rambos“ accidentally beat up three of their bosses in civilian clothes during clashes in Kreuzberg. Similar cases we have documented in CILIP No. 24, page 42 ff.
Nevertheless the „Anti-Riot Squad“ gets strong support from the political leaders of the police and the leading coalation in the Berlin parliament. Investigations into the practices of the squad by the Office of Public Prosecution have so far not brought about any results.
The case of this special squad shows that police brutality against politically dissenting groups cannot be interpreted merely as deviant behaviour by individuals. As the example shows, those aggressive actions are politically wanted and agreed to by the political leadership in the judiciary and parliament.
by Edda Weßlau
The police of the eleven states of the FRG is ruled by state laws. In the course of the past few years all states have changed police law specifically in the area of information gathering, a development which led to an erosion of civil rights (especially the right to privacy). Edda Weßlaus’article presents a critical documentation of new drafts regarding the police legislation of several states.
From Interpol to Trevi – the Joining of Police Force in Europe
The advancing economic and political integration of the European Community resulted also in a strengthening of the cooperation between police forces during the past 15 years. Our documentation tries to sketch this largely unknown development. It introduces those new institutions which build the infrastructure of the new cooperation, and it reflects on the effects this development has on the state of civil rights.
The State as a Citizens‘ Initiative – Laws on the Processing of Information in the Social Security System
by Bernd Lutterbeck
The features of electronic dataprocessing have not only changed the gathering and processing of information in the police system. After an electronically readable passport was introduced in the FRG in 1986, the government now has decided to issue another required document for West German citizens: an electronically readable social security card.
The author of our article, a Professor for Computer Science, discusses the drafts of the forthcoming laws and their implications on civil liberties and the right to privacy.
Social Democrats in the Police
This article is a self portrait of the „Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Sozialdemokraten in der Polizei“. About 40.000 of a total of 250.000 police men in the FRG are members of the SPD.
A Review of Publications on the History of the Police
Whereas Great Britain, France and the United States have a broad tradition in writings on police history that employ questions and methods of the social sciences, such a development is lacking in the FRG. This review gives a survey on books about German police history, written mostly through the looking glass of policemen as well as a few historians and social scientists.
From the Courts
Two new rulings are presented in the article:
1. A decision on the question of the lawfullness of blockades. Specifically the peace movement uses blockades frequently as a means for civil disobedience. The court comes to the conclusion that blockades are compulsive actions and be judged after the criminal law paragraph „Nötigung“ – regardless for what reasons they are undertaken.
2. SPUDOK is a new electronic measurement employed by the police for complex investigation. After it became apparent that this technique was used to investigate a citizens‘ initiative of the anti nuclear movement, one of its members filed a complaint and claimed his „right to know“. The administrative law court decided that there is no legal ground for such a suit and that therefore the police has to grant the plaintiff insight into the gathered data. Up to this day there is no „freedom of information act“ in the FRG. Citizens have no legal right to claim access to the data that the so-called „security authorities“ have gathered on theme. In light of this situation the new ruling is quite sensational.