And who watches the warden? The old conundrum remains as cogent as ever in this issue of CILIP primarily devoted to police controls. Three articles deal directly with police complaint boards in other Western countries. And we do-cument an interview with one of the numerous Citizens‘ Committees formed last December in the GDR for the purpose of dismantling that country’s State Security (Stasi = [Ministerium für] Staatssicherheit) which attempts to unco-ver the roots of this truly extraordinary phenomenon in the area of immediate citizens‘ control.
The Balance Sheet on Amsterdam’s New Suit Procedure
At the end of the 70s a Citizen’s Committee was formed to provide to persons involved in conflicts with the police (cf. CILIP issues No. 0 and 4). The ultimate results of these efforts was that in 1986 an official suit procedure body was created to which persons could turn if they wished to file complaints against the police. And even the police are required to refer all complaints filed with them against the police to this commission. The independent commis-sion, which was chaired from 1986 to 1988 by the article’s author, C.F. Rüter, is comprised completely and exclusively of members of the bar, who perform their services for the commission on a part-time basis. The commission has the police investigate every complaint it receives. If necessary it can reject the results of such investigations and demand a new investigaton or initiate in-vestigations of its own. The commission’s key criterion is whether the police activity in question was „correct“, thus not only legal, and beyond reproach both professionally in terms of the ratio of means to ends. The commission has no authority to sanction improper activity on the part of the police. It rather makes recommendations to the Mayor of Amsterdam as the public official with disciplinary authority over the police which are normally accepted by him. Of a total of more than 700 complaints, the mayor has seen fit to deviate only ten times from the commission’s recommendations.
Police Complaint Boards in Canada
Today, numerous complaint boards with highly differing authorities and formal procedures exist throughout Canada. For years the article’s author, a pro-fessor of criminology in Québec, was a member of such a board for monitoring police activities in that same province. Brodeur systematically discusses the problems of monitoring illegitimate police activities dependent on the con-struction of the specific complaint board, i.e. its concrete composition and investigative and sanction authority. Brodeur devotes special attention to the informal mechanisms and conflicts inherent in such complaint boards comprised of normal citizens and members of the police force. As in Amsterdam, the Ca-nada example would indicate that victims of police brutality who have no fur-ther witnesses for their complaints will regularly find their complaints rejected by such bodies. Working with the police on a compulsory basis and the absolute necessity of obtaining a minimum of cooperation from the police forces standing complaint boards to acquiesce in compromises with the police. Brodeur concludes that short-term complaint boards have more potential for achieving radical results and enforcing radical recommendations.
Ombudsman und Police Complaints Authorities in Australia
Brusten, a West German professor of criminology, scrutinizes the independent „Police Complaint Authorities“ set up in Australia in the early 80’s during a recent study trip to that country. His article describes the typical organisation and method of operation in a southern Australian PCA responsible for controlling the activities of approximately 3,800 police officers and employees. The chairperson is appointed by the governer for a 7-year term of office and has a staff of 6 persons and is required to annually present a report to parliament. Since its establishment in 1981, the number of complaints received annually by the authority has risen steadily from 334 to 810. As soon as a complaint is filed parallel to filing suit in court, the complaint is no longer pursued pending the outcome of the suit in court. For this and other reasons, roughly a third of all complaints were not further pursued during the past three years. All directive investigative work is performed by the police themselves – as is the case of Amsterdam. The complaint authority reviews all investigative reports, classifying approximately 30% of all complaints as „justified“. The authortiy does not, however, possess any discipline authority, but is required by statute to make corresponding recommendations. Brusten classifies the work of these complaint authorities as „quite effective“. Among his reasons for this evaluation is the authorities‘ potential for also exerting a structural influence on the police force by virtue of the fact that the mere awareness of the existence of a PCA causes police officers to behave more circumspectorily in its relations with the population. The distribution of the annual complaint budget also makes any regional structural deficiencies in the police force immediately visible.
Chronology of a Happy Death – The Dismantling of the State Security Agency (STASI) in the GDR.
This CILIP staff report provides a chronology of the events leading to the ul-timate dismantling of the State Security apparatus since the 9th of November 1989 (the day on which the wall between East and West Germany was officially opened). These reveal themselves as stages in an ongoing attempt on the part of the interim government under Hans Modrow to preserve elements of the original ministry administration under new designations and to prevent the dissolution in general.
Citizens‘ Control Committees and the Dismantling of the State Security Service in the GDR – a CILIP Staff Interview
Roughly 90,000 full-time staff and more than 100,000 part-time informers worked for the feared GDR State Security Agency (for a state with a total po-pulation of roughly 17 million) before it was almost completely dismantled by the so-called non-violent revolution in the GDR last December. It is primarily thanks to these committees formed spontaneously in nearly every larger com-munity in the GDR toward the end of the year that the dismantling process even got under way, after East Germany’s temporary Minister President, Hans Modrow, attempted to save elements of the state security apparatus and incorporate it into an „Agency for National Security“ (Amt für Nationale Sicherheit). We document a discussion with members of the citizens committee mainly responsible for the dismantling of the central state security.
Police Legislation in the States of the FRG
The CILIP staff report presents brief survey of recent developments in the re-form of police legislation at the state level in the FRG. The long-standing goal of the Conference of the Ministers of the FRG to formally unify and standardize the police laws in all of the states of the FRG has failed. Yet, even diiferences in the formulation of the legislation in the states of Hessen, North Rhine-Westphalia and the Saar State reveal a high level of correspondence in the sanctioning of preventive data collection by the police, the legal authority for the deployment and use of undercover agents and modern methods of covert information collection (e.g. directional microphones).
Security Legislation: 4th report in our series
Beginning in 1986, CILIP has regularly documented the attempts of the CDU/CSU/FDP coalition in Bonn to expand the authority of West Germany’s intelligence agencies. (Cf. CILIP no. 23, 29, 32) In the past, public outcry has prevented the passage of such legislation. This CILIP staff report provides a survey of the latest draft proposal for a new intelligence service act which has come about as the result of new negotiations within the governing coalition in Bonn and is scheduled to become law by the end of the year. Among the new features is the statutory right of all citizens to information on information concerning themselves from the National Constitutional Guard (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz), albeit heavily weakened by broad loopholes for security of sources, etc. Limitations have also been placed on the authority to gather and store information on juveniles under the age of 16. The general question as to the ultimate legitimacy of such an institution in view of the disssolution of the previous Public Enemy No. 1, the Communist regime in the GDR, soon to be united with the FRG, and whose own domestic intelligence service has been dismantled, remains an unsolved mystery even in this draft proposal.
The domestic intelligence agency in Berlin (West) and „The New Right to Know“
In its coalition agreement of March 1989, the SPD/AL coalition in Westberlin agreed to give the city’s citizens the right to review the files on their persons maintained by the intelligence agency. This article documents the experience with this new practice to date and provides general explanations of file designations and codification used by that agency.
„The Violence Report“ of the Independent Government Commission
THE CDU/CSU/FDP coalition in Bonn agreed during recent coalition negotiations to appoint an „independent commission“ to study the extent and development of violence in the FRG and to make specific proposals for solutions to the government. Recently, the commission, chaired by an ex-CDU-Minister of Justice from the state of Lower Saxony and professor of criminology, submitted its final report, which immediately evoked widespread criticism. As our author demonstrates, both the report’s recommendations and analysis reveal a strong pro-executive bias.
This is already apparent in the commission’s definition of violence from the „perspective of the state monopoly on violence“. In addition, only individual acts of violence are subjected to any examination, but not structurally violent conditions in general. Correspondingly, most of the commission’s proposals are aimed at beefing up the „state’s monopoly on violence“. While a peace-generating function is indeed attributed to the „monopoly on violence“, no empirical testing of the thesis is provided.
Deadly Use of Police Force in the FRG – 1989
Once again CILIP fulfills the sad duty of documenting the chronicle of deadly police use of firearms over the past year. And it will remain a solemn duty as long as the police refuse to publish their own statistics. As in preceding years, most of these fatal incidents involved routine situations in which deadly use of firearms is a possibility. In 1989, there were a total of 10 such fatal incidents – including a 13-year-old Turkish juvenile.
The Current Discussion About „Genetic Fingerprinting“ Legislation
Constantly at the cutting edge of anti-crime technology, West Germany’s police began last year to use genetic fingerprinting in its investigative and prose-cution efforts. Indeed, the first court decisions condoning the use of this new technology as legal evidence in criminal proceedings are already on the books. In December, the West German Federal Ministry of Justice presented a new legislative proposal which would provide legal authority for the new practice.
Our author, a member of a special information service monitoring developments in genetic fingerprinting, presents aninitialanalysis of the proposal and a systematic critique of its legalization based on arguments developed in the discussion in the USA.
Administrative and Civil Code Treatment of the Police Raid on the Göttingen Youth Center in 1986
In December of 1986, following massive police evictions of apartment buildings being squatted, a discussion on the housing shortage was held in a youth center in the city of Göttingen (Lower Saxony). Shortly after the rally began, 400 police stormed the premises, searched everybody and commenced to record the identities of all those present on the scene. The chief of police told the local press „we wanted to remove the anonymity from the mass [of persons] who potentially commit such crimes.“ In the meantime several courts have declared the raid illegal. In addition, one civil court has granted symbolic damages amounting to 200 marks to all victims of the raid. Despite all of these developments, the state bureau of detectives (Landeskriminalamt) in Lower Saxony hasn’t yet destroyed its records of the incident. And recent new and brutal police raids tend to indicate that local police (and a state ministry of the interior which continues to cover for its acts) remain unwilling to draw any conclusions from these decisions.