Thematic focus: Environmental Crime

Editorial Comment
by Otto Diederichs

During the heyday of the debate on police enforcement of law in conjunction with crimes against the environment, CILIP published its first special issue in 1985 on the „environmental protection police“. More than 10 years later it appears only right to look back and attempt to trace developments over the past twelve years and to take a close look at what has happened in the meantime in terms of legal, organisational and police structural developments. The search for qualified experts proved even difficult. It would appear that crimes against the environment have mutated to little more than lists within the crime statistics. Hardly anybody appears to devote major attention to the question of the relevance of police units devoted to the protection of the environment which were so heatedly debated in the Eighties.

The Limits of Legal Sanctions Against Environmental Crime
by Wolf-Dieter Narr

Crimes against the environment have not decreased, they are on the increase. Fortunately, the same holds true for the general public awareness of the problem which arose in the 70’s. Today, it is no longer possible to – consciously ignore environmental problems ranging from dying forests to waste disposal. Yet, the „principle of assuming personal responsibility“ does – unfortunately – continue to be neglected: at the local, national and international levels. Making money at the cost of the environment is the dominant trend – despite legal sanctions in the German Penal Code and the willingness of the police to enforce such laws both of which have been in effect for many years. But the fact that the laws against environmental crime are siomply ineffective is not the key issue. the key issue is that many people believe that the laws against environmental crime are capable of doing the job. This is the greatest impediment to effective environmental protection policies. Unfortunately, the equation is as follows: the more legal sanctions against environmental crime the less real environmental protection policy-making takes place.

Environmental Crime
by Otto Diederichs

Since 1973 environmental crimes are listed as a separate category in the Police Crime Statistics published annually at the state and national levels. These statistics provide a certain insight into the state and development of crimes against the environment, despite all the reservations with respect to official police statistics in general. In 1973, the statistics reveal a total of 2,321 crimes committed against the environment. In the years following, these numbers continued to rise. After the first flourish of activity in the early Seventies, the discussion of police enforcement of environmental protection laws remained subdued through the mid-80’s when, once again, it received its greatest levels of attention both organisationally as well as in the halls of justice. In the meantime, the discussion has diminished. This has most certainly to do with the fact that it is hardly a popular topic in times of economic recession. Even major environmental protection organisations appear to have no irrevocable positions, not to speak of the lack of initiatives. The article traces these developments and their consequences for policing in the environmental field.

The Police Fight Against Environmental Crime
by Otto Diederichs

Hardly anybody would today despite the fact that the police have the responsibility to fight environmental crime. The police themselves have been waging a struggle against environmental crime for the past fifteen years. In the beginning, such activities were almost exclusively performed by the harbour patrol in their – traditional – struggle against water pollution. The rationale for such activities arose not out of any increase in sensitivity for environmental questions in general, but arose due to a series of shipwrecks. The article reviews the development and current state of police environment activities.

The Environmental Protection Division in the State Police Detective Bureau
by Martina Kant

By 1984 Berlin had delegated responsibility for dealing with criminal activity with regard to environmental protection to the Division for Commercial and Environmental Crime within the special crimes division of the detective division of the Berlin Police Force at a point in time in which the other states of the FRG such tasks remained the responsibility of local police or detective units. When in 1994, the State Crime Division was created in 1994, the decision was made to create a special unit as the „Environmental Crimes Unit“ (LKA 32). Despite its exceptionally generous technical and personnel facilities compared to the other states of the FRG, the rates of environmental crimes solved by this unit continues to sink year for year.

Political Parties and Environmental Crime
by Martina Kant

Environmental crime takes a back seat in the platforms and resolutions of most of Germany’s political parties. Detailed programs and guidelines such as have been developed for such fields of crime as juvenile delinquency, right-wing extremism or so-called organised crime simply do not exist. Since the environmental crime laws were toughened in 1994, the discussion has resided considerably. If questioned, most parties concede that the question is highly topical, yet it is hardly discussed in judiciary, internal security and environmental working groups. What is the official position of Bonn’s parties on environmental crime? What is their perspective on environmental crime? What are their preferences in fighting such crime? The article provides a survey of current positions.

The Greens Perception of Environmental Crime
by Wolfgang Wieland

The fifth item of the Greens „10 Point Program“ for an alternative security concept is devoted to „Environmental crime – correcting the deficit and using the Civil Code“. In the first place, this program points out the fact that the sanctions provided by the Penal Code are hardly more than symbolic. By far, the greatest percentage of damage to the environment is completely legal and thus not covered by the Penal Code. The „blue planet“ is not dying as a result of overstepping legal limits for emissions, but by the emissions themselves. The author, chairperson of the Greens/Coalition 90 faction in the Berlin state parliament, provides the Greens proposals for dealing with environmental delinquency.

Non-thematic Contributions

An Alternative Security Concept for Cities and Smaller Communities
by Renate Künast

Numerous circumstances and phenomena are perceived as insecurity factors if they develop in one’s own immediate environment. In addition to actual criminal behaviour, these include being verbally molested, being subjected to an atmosphere of inconsiderate behaviour, noise, stress in traffic, signs of destruction and deterioration. It lies in the urgent priority interest of cities and communities to provide more real security and to diminish the feelings of insecurity among its citizens. However, „security nets“ and „security councils“ as propagated by federal Minister of the Interior, Manfred Kanther (CDU), are nothing more than a legitimisation for expanding police authority. AN alternative security concept sets very different priorities.

A Security Watch for Saxony
by Otto Diederichs

In Saxony there appears to be little willingness to allow its guardian states of Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg to be any better than Saxony in the field of ‚internal security‘. The Police Act, currently in the process of being revised after having been rejected by Saxony’s Constitutional Court, is generally considered to be the toughest police in all of Germany. Saxony’s police thus have the reputation and image of being Germany’s toughest on crime-fighting. It would appear that it does not suffice to give its citizens a feeling of security. Plans in Dresden are in the making to create a special watch patterned after the Bavarian model to be named the „Saxonian Security Watch“. It is highly doubtful, however, that this new division will actually deliver greater security for the citizens of Saxony or Bavaria. But this doesn’t even app0ear to be the purpose of the new security watch. Rather, it is aimed at „promoting a greater sense of social responsibility“ and to counteract the „culture of looking the other way“.

Europol and Operational Investigative Methods
by Hartmut Aden

For most of the protagonists of a central European investigation division, the American Federal Bureau of Investigation and the German Federal Crime Bureau were the key role models. The collection of information using clandestine methods has become the central strategy for „modern crime-fighting“ for both of these agencies. In addition, clandestine collection of information and data has become a key element of all of Europe’s central investigative units, albeit in differing degrees. It hardly comes as a surprise that such methods will become a part of the standard repertoire of Europol. The author provides a critique of such efforts combined with scepticism as to its effectiveness.

Persecution of the Chinese Minority During National Socialism
by Dagmar Yü-Dembski

When the National Socialists began to consolidate their power by persecuting its political opponents in the years 1933-1935, members of the Chinese community who were co-operating with socialist and communist organisations were arrested and deported. These measures directed against politically active Chinese in Germany were welcomed by the Chiang Kai Scheck administration and a pattern of co-operation between the Chinese embassy and the Gestapo came into being. However, both the Interior Ministry and the Gestapo shied back from co-operating with the embassy with regard to the activities of non-communist groups. However, both Chinese members of the business and commercial communities were subjected to surveillance. Source materials on the domestic security treatment of the Chinese minority have not yet been thoroughly scrutinised. To the extent that such material even still exists, it must be consolidated in painstakingly small steps. What has been studied to date reveals, however, surprisingly close parallels to current practices in terms of the Vietnamese minority in Germany.