Statistics as police instrument
by Heiner Busch
Germany’s police crime statistics (PKS) is fifty years old. The initially meagre file has turned into a tome. Today, police know that PKS is not a representation of crime reality but merely a statistics of reports received by the police. This, however, does not prevent politicians to abuse the regular „increase in crime“ for their political propaganda, nor does it stop the police from using registered crime data for operational purposes.
Why crime statistics is prone to false interpretation
by Oliver Brüchert
Police crime statistics is essentially a statistics of reports received by the police. If read correctly, it certainly provides indications on societal developments. However, this does not explain the public moral panic attacks about endless „new“ crime waves. Rather, one would have to scrutinise the actual social causes for fear of crime and the existing willingness to report others to the police.
„Non-Germans“ in police statistics
by Rainer Geißler
The prejudice of the „criminal foreigner“ prevents the necessary integration of migrants. Misleadingly presented and wrongly interpreted police crime statistics have contributed to this situation.
Crime statistics in the GDR
by Falco Werkentin
In the statistical year books of the former German Democratic Republic, there was little information on police registered crime, sentencing, prison populations and certainly not on political offences. The publications were always released with an eye on the Western enemy and were stopped entirely for a while in the 1970’s. The party leadership, however, was regularly shown such data and tried to influence it with short-term policy changes, from liberalisation to critiques of „exaggerations“ and „dogmatisms“.
Police situation reports
by Norbert Pütter
Situation reports, so the official point of view, form the „precondition for targeted police action“ and the basis of every police strategy. On reading the same, doubts arise as to whether they actually live up to these expectations. In many cases, banalities dominate. The calculated damages with regard to „organised“ and white collar crime, for example, are being distorted by spectacular incidents. Such situation reports, just as the crime police statistics on which they are mostly based, serve to legitimise new police powers.
„Evaluation“ of arbitrary stop and search
by Martina Kant
In more recent police and security service regulations, individual powers have a limited period of validity and have to be evaluated before their expiry. This article examines the quality and explanatory power of evaluations with the example of reports on arbitrary stop and search (Schleierfahndung) drawn up by the Federal Border Guards and the regional police force in Saxony. The result shows that the interior ministry reports are unsuitable for an evaluation, because necessary data was not collected in the first place. The few remaining meaningful data entries point to only marginal successes of arbitrary stop and search operations in the fight against unauthorised entry and cross-border crime.
Police recording of far-right crime
by Heike Kleffner and Mark Holzberger
On 10 May 2001, the Interior Minister’s Conference (IMK) decided on a new reporting system for politically motivated crimes. This, it was hoped, would contain the persistent critique of the official recording system for far-right attacks. Three years later, it appears that old problems remain unsolved. Even in clear-cut cases, the Federal Ministry of Interior does not want to acknowledge the far-right background of murderous attacks. Further, the ministry has as yet failed to draw up the mandatory evaluation report on the use of the new recording criteria.
Police bugging practice after the Constitutional Court decision
by Fredrik Roggan
Six years after the introduction of powers allowing for police to bug private homes, the Federal Constitutional Court, in its decision from 3 March 2004, has demanded those preconditions which the legislators did not want to formulate in 1998. Bugging operations are now only authorised if the expected maximum sentence for the offence in question is more than five years. Conversations between friends and (married) partners may not be bugged at all.
Police bans in the city of Bern
by Karin Gasser
The police has played a major role in triggering a discourse on security, order and cleanliness in the Swiss capital city of Bern that has now gained a life of its own independent from actual threats. Since the last five years, police has regularly banned drugs consumers and marginalized people from the inner city area. The police power to ban people from particular areas came into force in 1998 in form of the police regulation of the regional authority (Kanton) of Bern.
Police violence in Bergen (Norway)
by Anders Bratholm
Police violence is also a reality in the Norwegian province of Bergen. Because two researcher investigated this reality, they were publicly denounced as swindlers, excluded from the research community and had a plethora of legal proceedings initiated against them. More than two decades after their first research project, the Norwegian ministry of justice now has to pay out damages for the losses they incurred.