Germany’s interior ministry plans study on violence against police

A study on racial profiling in Germany’s police services was cancelled by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer two weeks ago. Instead, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is now making preparations for a study on violence against police officers. Critics accuse Seehofer of hypocrisy

According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, it is making preparations for a study on violence against police officers. Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer had already announced this last week and caused a wave of indignation on the internet as critics accuse the minister of hypocrisy.

The interior ministry is carrying out the study as a result of recent events in Stuttgart and Frankfurt when young people rioted against the police at open air parties. Several police officers were reported injured as a result of the incidents, which Seehofer is now using as a justification to carry out a study on violence against the police.

Police spokespersons have hinted that most of those who took part in the disturbances in Stuttgart and Frankfurt were young people with a migration background.

Seehofer commented on the new study plans in an interview with the newspaper Münchner Merkur. He said: “We are experiencing a trend that is characterised by the use of violence against police officers – and being cheered on by bystanders. These are no longer isolated cases. In Germany, many people are talking about police studies. I am convinced that we need a study on violence against police officers.”

The ministry’s decision has caused a lot of anger in the migrant communities in the country. Comments in the social media criticise Minister Seehofer, who stopped a planned independent study into Germany’s police forces to see whether there is structural racism, in particular, racial profiling, for approving the study on violence against the police.

The racial profiling study was suggested by migrant communities and also by the EU following negative reports and many complaints about institutional racism and unfair or biased treatment of non-native Germans by the police.

Initially, Germany agreed to undertake the review in mid-June and members of federal parliament across party lines fully supported the study. However, Seehofer stopped it on 5 July, insisting that structural racism does not exist within the police even though he had conceded a couple of weeks earlier that right-wing extremism was Germany’s biggest threat today.

Critics point out that the Bavarian politician’s position lacks any kind of logicality. He seems not to recognise that right-wing extremism and racism are two sides of the same coin.

READ ALSO Germany: Criticisms trail cancellation of study into racial profiling in policing

The military and the police have had several public scandals related to right-wing extremism, the most recent is the revelation that police officers in Hesse have been accessing confidential personal data of female Left, Green or Social Democrat politicians, a female lawyer who prosecuted the NSU murderers, female journalists, comediennes with Turkish backgrounds and other female anti-racist, anti-fascist activists. These women have been receiving death threats signed NSU.2, Heil Hitler etc.

According to police crime statistics for 2019, there has recently been a slight increase in crimes against police officers, with a particularly strong increase (about 21 percent) in “physical assaults”. In April 2017, the Bundestag passed a law “to strengthen the protection of law enforcement officers and rescue workers”, according to which culprits could be sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment in the case of physical attacks on police officers.

Sola Jolaoso

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