Reclaim the streets – an introduction
by Heiner Busch and Norbert Pütter
A square, street or a city district are only „public“ if everybody has access to and equal freedom from surveillance in them. The reality of our cities is increasingly distancing itself from this conception: private appropriation and state regulations are ousting all those from public spaces who interfere with the business of consumerism. At the same time, the public space is increasingly becoming an operational area for the police, supported by more or less privatised security services. The accompanying ideology is expressed in discussions on ‚broken windows‘ and on a threatened ’sense of security‘.
Police operational powers in public spaces
by Martina Kant and Fredrik Roggan
Police powers to control public spaces have been significantly increased last decade. Whereas before, police operated on grounds of generally worded police regulations, most Länder have now introduced specific norms on intervention relating to video surveillance, identity checks, powers to ban persons from public places (control orders), arbitrary stop and search (Schleierfahndung) and the establishment of control posts. The strategy behind these new powers is aimed at driving out unwanted groups such as the homeless, drug addicts or punks.
The treatment of marginalised groups in German cities
by Titus Simon
Those who are poor and also look it should not disturb the cityscape. This motto is applied in many German cities. In the attempt to dispel marginalised groups such as homeless people, drug addicts, punks and vagrants from the inner cities, municipalities are using police regulations and newly introduced powers in police laws as legal backbones. The eviction of their clientele is also putting social workers under pressure.
District management and local security politics
by Volker Eick
Stabilise run-down districts and activate its population – these are the well sounding aims of Berlin’s district management policy. It involves a new local security politics that subjugates the long-term unemployed to a new politics of exclusion.
Police and informal youth hang-outs
by Norbert Pütter
During the 1990s, a junction in Frankfurt-Sossenheim developed into a hang-out spot for youth. The youngsters‘ behaviour led to complaints by local residents. City council and police reacted. The conflict is exemplary for the extent to which police measures against disruptive youth can go.
Ordnungsamt patrols in Berlin
by Roland Otte
In September 2004, the first field staff of the municipal Ordnungsamt (civic compliance office with policing functions) assumed their duties. This was preceded by a lengthy debate on competencies and possible armament of the neighbourhood patrols. To citizens it remains unclear which powers these guardians of order, who are not part of the regular police force, actually have.
CCTV surveillance in France
by Eric Töpfer and Frank Helten
At the end of the 1980s, France saw a development which – similar to Great Britain – introduced video surveillance in city spaces as a norm rather than the exception. With the example of the city of Lyon it is shown that those targeted by surveillance are particularly youth from the banlieues (poor suburbs).
Police giving directions in Swiss cities
by Viktor Györffy
The concept is not new, but it currently appears to be escalating: a number of Swiss cities is busily providing police with control order powers. The city of Bern, where police has been able to pass so-called banning orders (Wegweisungsverfügungen) for several years now, is an example of this development.
Cross-border cooperation of EU police forces
by Mark Holzberger
There are currently various initiatives aiming at intensifying cross-border police cooperation within the EU. Whereas the Commission, in a proposal for a Council Decision, formulates this aim rather generally, the various bi-lateral agreements as well as the Treaty of Prüm („Schengen-III“), recently signed by seven Member States, contain detailed proposals for cross-border cooperation.
Britain after the bombings
by Ben Hayes
In the wake of the bombings and attempted attacks on the London transport network in July the UK government announced a developing raft of proposals. At the heart of the proposals is a planned new offence of „indirect incitement“ and a number of new powers to take action against those „condoning, glorifying or justifying“ acts of terrorism. The plans have been roundly condemned by Muslim organisations and civil liberties groups.
Deadly police shots 2004
by Otto Diederichs
Ten people have died as a result of police using fire arms in Germany last year.