Thematic focus: militarization – policification

Not a state of emergency – an introduction
by Heiner Busch

Fifty years after the passage of the emergency laws, domestic military operations have once more appeared on the political agenda, and counter-terrorism is used to legitimize the arming of police forces with new weaponry. The shift in the relationship between police and the military initially became visible during deployments abroad. However, it does not adhere to the concept of a state of emergency – dreamt up as the combating of insurgencies – that shaped the development of the governmental apparatus of force in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Militarily armed: grenade launchers for the police
by Dirk Burczyk

The constant admonition of Germany – or even the entire EU – being in “the crosshairs of international terrorism” linguistically creates a permanent state of emergency that is reflected in the police being equipped with military weaponry and protective gear during special operations as well as in their daily routines.

Domestic military operations
by Frank Brendle

Calls for domestic missions of the German army, while prominently expressed by security policy makers mainly of SPD and CDU/CSU as recently as ten years ago, have notably subsided. And yet the topic remains virulent: Since then, the army has established extensive structures of civil-military cooperation. In 2012, the Federal Constitutional Court revised its decision on the Aviation Security Act. And the first joint manoeuvre by police and military since World War II was conducted in 2017.

Narratives of militarization at the European Police Congress
by Stephanie Schmidt und Philipp Knopp

In February 2018, the 21st European Police Congress was held in Berlin; a trade fair with convention character. The strongly represented arms manufacturers’ advertising promoted military self-images within the police. The underlying logic of risk, according to which anything might happen at any given moment, even if it has “not yet” occurred, enforces the acquisition of military equipment by the police.

Militarized police in France
by Fabien Jobard

The French state traditionally has a gendarmerie at its command, a police organization with military status. In addition, riot police task forces developed within the gendarmerie as well as within the civil Police Nationale at an early stage. Furthermore, the development during the last two centuries exhibits a process of militarization of practical police work, especially in the banlieues, that also concerns the civil status police.

Italian state tradition: police with military status
by Salvatore Palidda

At present, of the 343,000 officers with the Italian national police forces, 57.8% belong to a corps with military status. The long tradition of such police organizations is shaping the country’s security policy to this day. With the neoliberal turnaround and the presence of carabinieri in police operations at various theatres of war, the militarization is receiving a renewed boost.

Capitalist Combat Friends: The US Military and the US Police
by Volker Eick

Historically, police and military in the US emerged from the slave patrol militias; an incarnation of colonial US „civil society“. The paper proceeds with an overview on how police and military developed (and partly merged in terms of duties) in the 19th and 20th century. Practically, military and police always worked hand in hand. Ideologically, the same aplies; therefore, we need to understand the militray and the police as our enemies in green and blue.

Data from the combat zone
by Matthias Monroy

The EU is interlocking its domestic and external security structures. A “crime information cell” is expected to enhance data transfer between armed forces on the one hand and Europol, Frontex and member state police officers on the other. Moreover, it is intended that Europol use data collected by the US military on “foreign fighters” in Syria and Iraq.

Non-thematic contributions

A new wave of police laws
by Heiner Busch

After the German parliament revised the Federal Criminal Police Office Act (BKAG) in 2017, the federal states are following suit. In several states, new laws have already been adopted, in others, drafts have been completed. At their core: Firstly, a new task statute concerning the pre-emptive abatement of “impending threats”, devised to shift police action to extremely early preliminary stages. This then serves as the foundation for surveillance powers such as the use of Trojans on the one hand, and restrictions of movement and preventive custody on the other.

Independent police complaints bodies in Germany
by Eric Töpfer

Civil liberties organisations and international human rights bodies call for the establishment of independent police complaints mechanisms in Germany for many years. However, visions on how such institutions should be formed differ significantly. Recent years have seen the launch of interior ministry complaints management units, external investigation departments, and of police commissioners appointed by state assemblies.

Saxony’s auxiliary police forces
by Florian Krahmer

With a volunteer-based “Security Watch”, a police watch, and local police departments, Saxony is attempting to compensate for the longstanding staff reductions within federal police forces. The auxiliary street wardens and the employed auxiliary police forces are provided with extensive powers. Report on a just-in-time production of security.

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