Hopes and dangers of the „police of the future“
by Norbert Pütter and Eric Töpfer

The modernisation of police forces also includes the instruments and procedures they use, which are the result of scientific and technological progress. Although little is known about the details, new technologies are used in all areas of police work and their expansion is a declared aim of the responsible bodies. Digitalisation in particular is seen as an opportunity for more effective police work. With the expansion of their technical capacities, the police’s options to define suspicious behavior, for monitoring and taking action are increasing; the new technologies make it even more difficult to control police work.

Biometric facial recognition. Technological solutionism for more „security“
by Jens Hälterlein

The police use of biometric facial recognition is one of the most controversial applications of artificial intelligence (AI). The core issue is whether greater importance is attached to the technology’s promise of security, or the risk it poses in terms of restricting fundamental and civil rights. The assumption that the systems used are highly efficient must be relativised – and with it the promise of security. In addition, the use of the technology has discriminatory effects.

Digital forensic crime scene reconstruction. A path to objectivising the assessment of evidence?
by Thomas Feltes and Holger Plank

Along with the „digital revolution“, forensic technology has developed dynamically in a short space of time. Digital forensics enables reproducible crime scene findings using optoelectronic processes. Digital, multi-perspective and virtually accessible reproductions of crime scenes can improve the work in investigative proceedings and, through (virtual) visual inspection, also the formation of judicial convictions. The article deals with the implications of these changes in terms of criminal procedure and police science and the problem that the defence lawyer’s ability to understand and verify these methods using its own resources is limited. In addition, intentional or unintentional manipulation can hardly be proven.

Displacement by any means necessary? AI-supported video surveillance at Hansaplatz
by Tabea Louis and Johannes Ebenau

This article sheds light on the camera surveillance on Hansaplatz in Hamburg’s St. Georg district, which has been supported by an AI since last year. We place this development in the context of the local historical politics of order, in particular the policy of displacement of drug users and dealers, sex workers, homeless people and migrants.

On the leash of the agencies. EU security research in the shadow of Frontex and co.
by Eric Töpfer

EU security research has been criticised by civil society and human rights organisations ever since it was launched. The opening up of research and binding ethical standards were meant to bring improvement. At the same time, however, it is increasingly being steered and controlled by the interests of the security authorities – mediated by the growing role of EU home affairs agencies. In the process, fundamental and human rights are being marginalised.

Security research for the police. New surveillance technologies and „accompanying research“
by Clemens Arzt, Jessica Heesen, Viktoria Rappold and Susanne Schuster

Civilian „security research“ itself contributes in a circular way to the definition of what is considered a security-relevant problem and what measures can be used to counter this problem. The relevant German federal and EU framework programmes primarily promote the development of new technologies for police measures. This article addresses the role, limitations, potentials and risks of ethical, social and jurisprudential participation in this research within the framework of „sub-projects“ or „accompanying research“.

What does the security market offer? A digital trade fair visit
by Norbert Pütter

For police forces, too, technical progress is taking place primarily in the field of digitalisation, which is reaching almost all areas of criminalistic work in small steps. New instruments and procedures are available on a global market that is aimed equally at police forces, secret services and the military. The increased surveillance options are being protected by claims of commercial confidentiality; it is largely unclear to what extent the tools are being utilised and by whom.


Dealing with allegations. Police reactions to accusations
by Riccarda Gattinger

The police usually reacts to accusations in two ways: with defensive or protective reactions. This is the result of a systematic study of magazines published by various German police unions. Both forms of reaction convey feelings of cohesion and belonging and thus have an identity-building effect.

Racist profiling in St. Pauli. Report on a collaborative neighbourhood research project
by Simone Borgstede, Steffen Jörg, Moana Kahrmann, Efthimia Panagiotidis, Rasmus Rienecker and Sabine Stövesand

In recent years, there has been an increasing number of reports from the St Pauli district of Hamburg criticising the presence and proceedings of the police. In response to this, a team of researchers from HAW Hamburg, employees of GWA St. Pauli e. V. and committed residents have conducted, documented and analysed numerous interviews and observations since 2021 as part of collaborative neighbourhood research. The focus was on questions about how residents and those affected experience and assess the situation.

Confiscation of research data. On a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court
by Helmut Pollähne

The German Federal Constitutional Court has rejected the constitutional complaint of a legal-psychologistic criminologist from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg as inadmissible, but ultimately ruled in his favour on the merits. He had objected to the Munich prosecution authorities seizing confidential data from a research project.

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