Thematic focus: Social work and the police

Social work in the basement of policing – an introduction
by Norbert Pütter
The relationship between the police and social work is disputed in Germany since the 1970s. Though the differing professional self-concepts – control and law enforcement on the one hand, assistance and support on the other hand – is recognized, the assumption that social workers and the police target the same clientele and, thus, have to cooperate is an integral part of the security policy discourse. Whereas the police developed methods of quasi-social work, the policing aspects of social work were unfolded in the context of neoliberal policies since the 1990s. Meanwhile social work is at risk to lose its independence within the diverse networks of cooperation.

20 years at the intersection of youth welfare and the police
by Konstanze Fritsch
The „Clearingpoint Youth Welfare/Police“, funded by the Senate of Berlin, is a project working at the intersection of youth welfare and policing since 1994. Its initial task was to facilitate a regular dialogue between staff from youth welfare and the police. Activities of youth welfare with deviant juveniles shall be shielded from police interference and both professions shall develop effective strategies for the prevention of violence.

The police and football supporter projects
by Michael Gabriel
60 projects currently exist in Germany which co-operate with juvenile football supporters. Whereas these projects are guided by the potential of football supporter culture, the police are focusing on the risks of this culture. The importance of such projects as mediating entities is increasing in face of the hardened front between supporters and the police. However, the projects often come under fire from the police.

How the police is penetrating schools
by Volker Eick
The penetration of schools in Germany by the police began in the late 18th century. As “prevention” has been claimed a key area of its activities in the recent decades, the police have now increased their presence in schools. Police events about the prevention of violence have become obligatory for schools in almost all German states. At these occasions police officers demonstrate the threat of penal law and collect information. One can hope that teachers and parents notice that the transformation of schools into police-preventative training institutions does compromise rather than promote child welfare.

Keeping distance to the police: Street work with youngsters
Interview with Christian Schramm
No transfer of personal data, no information about specific persons or groups for the police – these principles need to be kept up, says Christian Schramm, who is street worker in Berlin for 15 years. By their constant presence the police expels youth groups from their vested places and, hence, inhibits the activities of street workers. The police have to be permanently reminded of youngsters’ rights.

Houses of Youth Law
by Klaus Riekenbrauk
“Houses of Youth Law“ have been created in many German cities since 1999. They accommodate staff from youth welfare, the police and public prosecution authorities under one roof. Their purpose is to accelerate criminal proceedings relating to youngsters and orchestrate concerted action against “prolific offenders”. In particular the cooperation in so-called case conferences is not only undermining data protection but also trust which is crucial for the relationship between youth welfare and its clients.

Non-thematic contributions

The domestic secret service at schools
by Heiko Stamer
Staff from Offices for the Protection of the Constitution, the domestic secret service, increasingly frequents schools in order to influence students preventatively after their fancy. This new field of secret service activity is justified by the mission to “inform the public”. As the appearance in schools is explicitly supposed to be no political education, the staff from the secret service does not feel bound by basic principles of political education such as the commandment of “controversity”.

Foreign fighters: the EU’s new counter-terrorism package
by Matthias Monroy
„Foreign fighters“, foreign residents or EU citizens who return to Europe from fighting in Syria or Iraq or from training camps in Yemen, are targeted by the EU and its Member States not only since the assaults of Paris and Copenhagen. A new series of counterterrorism measures is now justified by the risk seen in these “fighters”.

The draft for a revised Protection of the Constitution Act
by Heiner Busch
In March 2015, the German government passed a draft bill to amend the Federal Act for the Protection of the Constitution, the law on domestic intelligence, which shall be quickly adopted in parliament. The central power of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution shall be strengthened. A new information system shall facilitate the free flow of information between regional and federal authorities. In addition, the proposed regulation of informants will legitimise crimes committed by snitches rather than limit their activities.