Theme: Violence against/by the police

Police and violence – victims and perpetrators
by Norbert Pütter
Police trade unions and politicians of the conservative-liberal coalition are proposing more stringent criminal laws to counter an alleged increase in violence against police officers, which they are trying to prove by falsely interpreting police crime statistics. The increasing cases of „resisting a police officer in the execution of his duty“ only show non-violent forms of resistance whilst the assaults against officers are usually classified as inflicting bodily harm, and within this category they are not further specified by numbers. Furthermore, charges lodged by police on grounds of „resistance“ are commonly used to deter complaints against police violence. Unless violence against the police is linked to the demand for a less violent police force and society as a whole, neither the police nor citizens are served.

Strong words on violence against the police
by Martin Beck
A chorus of security politicians, police trade unions and law and order fans is currently complaining about the dwindling respect for uniformed officers and an increase in „left-wing violence“. Hereby, they often cite false reports, for example, about injured police officers during the protests against the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, or at the annual Mayday demonstrations in Berlin and Hamburg.

Little clarity about occupational hazards for police
by Norbert Pütter and Randalf Neubert
The past few decades, the number of police who have died through occupational accidents is higher than those who have been killed by assaults. In comparison with death cases in other areas of work, the police job proves to continue being very safe. Construction workers live far more dangerously. The fact that, despite their constant complaints about allegedly increasing assaults on officers, the regional and federal interior ministries do not publish data on injuries sustained at work, and that they have retreated from a scientific study on violence against the police indicates that the occupational safety of police officers is not really the issue of interest for them.

Daily repression against football fans
by Angela Furmaniak
The „Ultras“ that nowadays characterise football fan circles are often portrayed as „violent offenders“ and „hooligans“. These depictions serve to justify a whole series of harassment measures, such as arbitrary stadium bans, far-reaching bans on entering areas surrounding the stadium, obligations to report at police stations at the time of a match and constant controls.

Attacks and regular violence against immigrants
by Dirk Vogelskamp
„Migration control“ goes hand in hand with a high level of legal violence against immigrants: during deportations, transfers and police controls, in detention centres and deportation prisons. At a daily level, foreigners’ authorities and their police assistants discriminate against migrants and apply special laws that exclude them. As always, they are treading the thin line between legal police work and scandalous assaults.

The internal security service and „leftist violence in Berlin“
by Fabian Kunow and Oliver Schneider
The hypothesis that the democratic state is threatened in same measure by left- and right-wing extremists forms the contractual base of the German internal security service. This doctrine is also reiterated in a recent intelligence service study of „left-wing violence in Berlin“. The attempt to equate the two leads to police data being systematically misinterpreted and to the acquittal of left activists to be ignored. Instead of talking about racist, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic societal thinking and actions, such studies support the blabla on „extremist“ violence.

Police officers in court
by Tobias Singelnstein
Criminal proceedings against police officers on grounds of inflicting bodily harm in the execution of duty (Article 340 of the German Criminal Code) have a dubious reputation. As a rule, they do not last very long and in 95 % of cases, proceedings are halted on grounds of lack of evidence.

Non-thematic contributions

The Office for Protecting the Constitution and the Constitutional Court
by Wolf-Dieter Narr
The German ‘liberal constitutional order’ (‘freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung’, fdGO) is used as a taboo; as if the protection of these „inalienable values“ against their „enemies“ comes before the implementation of fundamental rights and of democracy itself. Even the Federal Constitutional Court is unable to free itself of this fetishised preventive homeland security. This is also reflected in the recent court decisions that submit online-raids and data retention to more stringent preconditions.

Customs – more than a mere administrative authority
by Otto Diederichs
Contrary to the police, customs are often ignored by civil society organisations. Without good reason: its quasi crime police branch, the customs investigation service, has far-reaching powers, for example, to carry out undercover investigations and it has a powerful central authority. Similar to the Federal Border Police, the customs uniformed branch has transferred its controls inland.

New Swiss Federal Police Law
by Viktor Györffy and Heiner Busch
At the end of November 2009, the Swiss ministry of justice published a draft police remits law. It foresees the creation of a legal basis for police methods that fall outside of criminal proceedings and are applied without suspicion of a criminal act having been committed. These range from month-long observations to the deployment of paid spies and the use of undercover agents.