Thematic Focus: Controlling the Police?
by Hannah Espín Grau and Marie-Theres Piening
Parallel to the expansion of the powers of the German police, a critical public debate on the role of the police is increasing. The existing mechanisms to control the police are of limited efficacy and can only counteract the expansion of power in a piecemeal fashion. Therefore, it seems necessary to build on the momentum of the growing debate, to reconceptualize police control, and to consider how society can be empowered vis-à-vis the police. To this end, the article introduces the concept of “police accountability” and discusses its opportunities and limits regarding a stronger democratic containment of the police. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: The Myth of “Clan Crime”
The Myth of “Clan Crime“
by Tom Jennissen und Louisa Zech
The article provides an introduction to the current main topic “clan crime“. The discourse on “clan crime“ leads to racist control practices and the weakening of constitutional principles. It serves to project crime onto the supposedly “foreign” and is politically exploited. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: The EU – A New Kind of Security State?
The European Union and its Crises
by Chris Jones and Yasha Macanico
Since the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, various crises have served as pretexts for expanding the EU security structures, expanding the power of the EU’s repressive agencies. Politically motivated human rights violations continue to be daily fare and are worsening with the latest “migration crisis” on the EU’s eastern borders. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: Police Laws – Eroding Boundaries and Protest
Five Years of Toughening Up Police Laws in Review
by Eric Töpfer and Marius Kühne
Germany has upgraded. On July 20, 2021, the Bavarian state parliament passed the last amendment to the Bavarian Police Tasks Law (for the time being), marking the provisional end to a series of measures toughening up police law that began in 2017 with the amendment to the Federal Criminal Police Law. This not only involved new powers to combat “dangerous persons”, but also the expansion of surveillance and dragnet searches, as well as an expansion of the arsenal of weapons. The updates to subjects’ rights and data protection that were implemented simultaneously did not compensate for this increase in power. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: Sex, Gender, and Control
Policing, Sexuality, and Gender. Feminism Between Critique of Power and Punitiveness
by Jenny Künkel
The police remains a hetero-masculine institution. Perpetrators, prisoners, and victims of (police) violence are predominantly male. Sexual violence, however, mostly affects women and trans people, and the “ideal victim” (N. Christie) and fear of crime are regarded as female. Policing and punishment are gendered. Particularly in public spaces, sexual and gender “deviance” is marginalized and controlled. In private life, sexual violence was of little interest until feminist battles changed this. This introduction aims to give an overview over these issues and the categories conveying power structures within policing. Nevertheless, the manner in which they are addressed must be analyzed from a perspective critical of power, since protecting women and children has been used in expansion of control. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: Better Off Without the Police?
On Abolishing the Police Problem
by Benjamin Derin and Michèle Winkler
Against the background of the current debate on “Defund the police“, this introductory article discusses different critical perspectives on the police in Germany that focus on police use of force, racist practices of control, right-wing tendencies within the police, the expansion of police powers, or the increasingly police-based response to social issues. The different perspectives yield varying demands and approaches to solutions. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: All the Right Things
Police on Their Way to the Right?
by Dirk Burczyk
The issue of police and right-wing extremism is en vogue in the media. This article demonstrates the connections between three topics: the (lacking) investigative attention paid to right-wing motives; the police approach in dealing with far-right offenders; and the existence of far-right networks and racist attitudes within the police. In the name of combatting right-wing extremism, security authorities are endowed with expanding powers that are insufficiently applied for this purpose but allow for the criminalization of other phenomena labeled as extremism. This gap between institutional expansion and reluctancy towards substantial change explains right-wing attitudes and networks that reach into security authorities, and the exploration and addressing of which has not been politically implementable so far. Summaries weiterlesen
Thematic Focus: Police in Everyday Life
Daily Policing – Access & Retreat: An Introduction
by Jenny Künkel and Norbert Pütter
Where and how do the police interfere in people’s everyday lives – and when don’t they? Whom do the police serve as resource, who calls the police? But also: where do they spring into action without being called, towards whom do they display a particularly high level of commitment? The outcome shows: the meaning of police in everyday civil life strongly depends onthe subject’s social standing. Summaries weiterlesen