Prevention: variants of popular belief
by Norbert Pütter
‚Better safe than sorry‘ is not only a popular platitude but also a way to justify any form of police intervention, including repressive ones, as prevention. Next to legitimating the use of state force, preventative policing always implies that future security threats have to be predicted. The logic of prevention thereby creates a need for increased information gathering. As a consequence, the current restructuring of the police according to this logic aims primarily at the police’s capacity to collect and evaluate information, also by means of secret practices, and at the provision of a legal basis for these practices. Further, the logic of prevention necessarily leads to more control and surveillance in everyday civil life. The limitation of state intervention and any chance of a political and legal control of the police are therefore lost.
Risk- and security management
by Albrecht Funk
The terms „risk analysis“ and „security management“ are experiencing a boom. The end of the welfare state is creating a new security logic that is not geared towards potential criminals but towards the likelihood and severity of the possible damage. Its hallmark is that security authorities are ascribing risk characteristics to certain people and groups on the grounds of probability deliberations and that they orient their practices according to these risk analyses. However, when police and security services do not target the actual behaviour of individuals, the latter’s rights drop out of the running.
Prevention of terrorism
by Stefan Waterkamp and Mark Eidam
Extended police and security service powers have limited penal consequences: hundreds of investigations are started but only six cases in Germany led to an indictment and trial procedures. The result of terrorism prevention is not only the surveillance of „suspicious“ population groups; it also expresses itself in deportations without a conviction and in cases such as Murat Kurnaz, whom the German government let rot in Guantánamo for four years because chiefs of security classified him as a „security risk“.
Crime preventative public relations
by Hanna Noesselt
ProPK, the „Programme Crime Prevention of the Federal Republic and regional states“ wants to anchor the logic of prevention in the public, media and police. Considering its antiquated value, even with the help of media channels, the distributed messages and materials are not likely to reach their target population.
Police and municipal prevention
by Norbert Pütter
In the 1990s, local crime prevention experienced an unexpected boom. After decennia of police centralisation, municipal prevention councils promised an increase in civil participation in police work. In actual fact, only those groups are represented in the prevention councils that have an institutionalised representation at their disposal. A direct participation of affected groups does not exist. Authorities and police dominate these councils. They are asked to offer their expertise on crime and they offer more access to information for the prevention councils. Often, the councils therefore demand more police repression against youth and open drugs scenes and more control of public spaces.
Military security: The white book on the army
by Wolf-Dieter Narr
The 2006 White Book, the first military position paper of the German government since 1994, is a propaganda paper for the transformation of the German army towards „anti-terrorist“ and „humanistic“ intervention world-wide and for the deployment of armed forces inland – not only to deal with catastrophic incidents but also to take over policing tasks.
Extradition versus asylum
by Jutta Hermanns
The Turkish state also prosecutes its enemies years after their fleeing into exile. The acceptance as an asylum seeker does not protect those concerned from being arrested on grounds of extradition orders by the Turkish state. Although in the known cases, so far no extradition has taken place, those concerned often spend months in detention.
200 Dollar and a few SMS messages: a Swiss terrorism trial
by Heiner Busch
The first and so far only terrorism case brought to trial by the Swiss public prosecution ended on 28 February 2007 mainly with acquittals. Nothing remained of the allegations of supporting al-Qaeda and forming a criminal organisation.