An Editorial Comment
by Otto Diederichs
With the initiation of a discussion of so-called ‚organized crime‘ in the be-ginning of the 70’s the debate on the use of covert operational procedures became ever broader. The Federal Crime Bureau and the State Crime Bureaus in Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg became the first police forces to establish their own special divisions for fighting organized crime. Other detective divisions in the German states ultimately followed suit. Today, undercover or covert operations are a standard element of police activity. Bürgerrechte & Polizei/CILIP takes a close look at each of these methods.
Operative Police Methods
by Heiner Busch and Norbert Pütter
Operative, i. e. covert or secret, methods are not new to police work in Ger-many nor principally new to police work in other European countries. Their use goes back at least to the Metternich era. Covert or secret operations were initially performed in connection protecting the state. In postwar Germany their implementation in connection with dealing with „common“ crime remained essentially exceptional. Their rise to standard operating procedures began during the 70’s in the fight against crimes connected to illegal substances. During the 80’s they were incorporated into the fight against ‚organized crime‘. The article provides a survey of the development and spread of covert police methods.
by Sabine Strunk
The term ‚intelligence‘ which is taken from military operation procedures in-volves nothing more than methods used „to arrive at a better understanding of enemy activities“. Among the Anglo-American police forces intelligence methods were adopted during the 70’s in the ‚war on drugs‘ and the ‚war against organized crime‘. In police strategy, this investigative tactic has been and is being used to deal with the increasing number of indictments in such a manner as to be able to deal with highlighted areas (defined according to internal police criteria). The prime example of police adoption of ‚intelligence strategies‘ in Germany is the Special Division for Organized Crime in Hamburg. It can be categorized as the leading edge of such activity, as Hamburg has always been awarded an avant-garde role in the fight against organized crime. The article examines adoption of ‚intelligence‘ operations by the German police.
Confidential Sources, Undercover Agents, Sting Specialists and other Creatures
by Norbert Pütter and Otto Diederichs
Since the beginning of the 70’s the police in Germany have diagnosed changes in the crime scene. The greatest danger emanates from crimes committed surreptitiously. To a lesser degree than ever before are the police capable of actually perceiving the criminal activity generated by criminal groups organized as conspiracies. Because complaints and/or charges are either not filed at all or at best too late, the logical conclusion for the police was to go underground. Be it with the aid of informers or with its own personnel. The use of undercover agents as well as constant cooperation with and use of informers from criminal circles, often euphemistically referred to as ‚confidential sources‘ have become standard operational procedures for the police in the course of the last two decades. The article describes types and the extent of covert activities and operational procedures and the types of individuals involved.
Joint General Regulation Governing the Use of Informers and the Use of Covert Individuals and Undercover Agents in Crime-Fighting
A Documentation of the Joint Regulation Issued by the Berlin Senate for Ju-stice and the Berlin Senate for the Interior on May 25th, 1994
by Heiner Busch
At the end of the 70’s the police term ‚observational search‘ (OS) was repla-ced by the term ‚police surveillance‘ (PS). This, however, did not involve any shift in the substance or methods of such activity. Whether you call it OS or PS, it still involves the same activity, namely the covert tracking of movement and travel activities. This all became possible due to installation and expansion of electronic tracking methods and technology in conjunction with the INPOL system in the 70’s. The tracking files can be fed with names or vehicle numbers as ‚targets of surveillance‘. ‚Tracks‘ at domestic control points and at the borders are thus capable of providing patterns of movement and/or travel and contacts of individuals tagged for surveillance to police units. The article analyzes both the practice and successes of police surveillance.
by Otto Diederichs
On February 15th 1974 the Federal Conference of Ministers of the Interior adopted the „uniform federal establishment of special units for surveillance – mobile deployment groups (MDG, in German = MEK or Mobile Einsatz-Kommandos). (…) Their tasks include the surveillance(s) of meeting places and staging areas for terrorist groups and individuals; the identification of potential areas of criminal activity, hiding , (…)places, peripheral surveillance, (…), and surveillance in the field of severe crime.“ Since then every state of the FRG has equipped several such units comprised of surveillance specialists. In theory they can be used in support activities by all detective units and divisions. In practice, however, MDG activities involve almost exclusively protection of the state and drug cases as well as investigative work in conjunction with organized crime. The article provides a description of the structure and the surveillance methods used by these special units.
Cross-Border Covert Operations
by Heiner Busch
Back in the mid-80’s ‚undercover agents‘ belonging to German police forces operating on Dutch soil and directed against drug dealers in Holland led to diplomatic ‚dissonance‘. Today, joint covert operations not only on the part of the FRG and the Netherlands, but also involving other European countries have become standard operating procedures. Nevertheless the police are ope-rating on extremely thin ice in this area. This applies all the more, the more countries are involved in such joint operations. The article examines the practice of so-called ‚controlled deliveries‘, i. e. police surveillance of illegal transportation of goods over numerous international boundaries in drug trafficking.
by Otto Diederichs
Police wire-tapping which has been codified and regulated by the Criminal Trial Procedures Act since 1968 have been an increasingly popular method of operation for the police. If, in 1974, a mere 104 cases of police wire-tapping were recorded throughout the FRG, this number had risen to 3.500 by 1992. The aggregate costs of a wire-tapping operation of conventional phones can be as much as 500.000 German marks. If cellular phones are involved in the wire-tapping these costs can involve 750.000 to 1.000.000 German marks. The article attempts to cast some light on the current practice of police wire-tapping of telephone communications in the FRG and provides some current and relevant statistical information.
Recent Findings on Undercover Operation in the USA
by Gary T. Marx
Although drug enforcement remains the most important application field of undercover operations, these methods have become established way beyond, and ever new areas of application are found: covert police apprehend men masturbating in porno-movie theaters, and state forest troopers try to catch poachers with „Robo-Deer“, an artificial bate. In drug enforcement, the number of cases where covert police sell drugs to arrest buyers are mounting. The sheriff of Broward County, Massachusetts, allowed his people to fabricate the crack, they would later try to sell, in their own police station. The discussed cases need no commentary, they speak for themselves.