Burgerrechte & Polizei

CILIP 66, Nr 2/2000      English summary of features in this issue (the journal is in German)


Civilian Mobilization in the Context of Internal Security

by Hubert Beste

Following several decades of centralization Germany now finds itself addressing its attention to the local community in the public debate over "internal security". With civilian patrols, prevention councils and various forms of security partnerships, the state is currently launching an attempt to recruit local civilian populations as co-producers of domestic security. While moving in this direction the state undoubtedly divests itself of elements of its responsibility, yet still retains its authority to direct all activities while simultaneously pursuing its neo-liberal strategy of scaling down on the path to lean government.

Volunteer Police Assistants

by Norbert Putter and Martina Kant

This survey of more recent and traditional forms of volunteer and honorary police activity deals with the tasks, authority and equipment, personnel strengths as well as the specific activities of the Volunteer Police Services in the Lander Baden-Wurttemberg and Hessia, the Security Guards in Bavaria and Saxony as well as the Security Partners in Brandenburg. The Police Assistants are particularly attractive for the various agencies dealing with public safety in that they constitute an inexpensive alternative to tenured public police officers as state officials. The deployment of inadequately trained part-time police personnel contributes to the gradual de-professionalization of police work "in the streets". At this point it is simply not possible to make any accurate predictions of whether this trend will lead to greater control pressure in the public realm or whether it will ultimately constitute little more than a symbolic gesture of the state's security guarantee.

The Voluntary Police Reserves in Berlin

by Wolfgang Wieland

Berlin's Voluntary Police Reserves is an invention of the cold war, as it were the West's response to the "workers' militia" which existed in the German Democratic Republic. After the wall fell they continued to exist. Under their new name Voluntary Police Service they were granted additional powers during the course of the 90's. Yet the key characteristic of the scandalous chronicle is that they have become increasingly attractive to right-wing extremists as a rallying point.

Work, Anxiety and Sensations

by Volker Eick

Since the beginning of the nineties, informal control agencies have been developed in and alongside the police especially at municipal level. Back in 1998 the Brandenburg municipality of Bernau came up with a new variation. The so-called "citizens aids" who are partially involved in accompanying police officers on their regular beats are recruited predominantly from among persons who have been registered as long-term unemployed whose new jobs are financed by the federal labour agency. Similar models have been initiated in the meantime in a number of other German communities. The poor now "police" the poor.

On Patrol for the Local Administration

by Norbert Putter

Despite all efforts to cut costs uniformed patrols have recently become increasingly popular among numerous local administrations. The scope of tasks performed by these patrols ranges from special guide services for tourists and persons from other regions to reporting impending dangers or disorder to the appropriate government agencies to issuing tickets for minor infractions of the law. At the same time that it is becoming increasingly difficult for marginalised social groups to maintain any presence in the inner cities, the message for the general public is that purported public safety can only be achieved by deploying more uniformed personnel into the streets.

Vigilant Neighbours

by Christine Hohmeyer

Several years ago Germany's police forces have discovered the value of neighborly control activities. Not only does these local initiative provide for apparently greater public safety at no cost to the local government administrations, they also serve a general symbolic policy of shifting the responsibility for dealing with social problems on to specific groups.

Neonazis as Informers for Domestic Intelligence

by Christoph Ellinghaus

On July 9th the president of the Thuringian political intelligence agency ("Verfassungsschutz") was suspended from office subsequent to a television report according to which a right-wing extremist had been used by the agency as an undercover agent and informer. The author shows that the incident is not an individual case. In a set of cases right-wing extremists were paid as informants.

Crocodile Tears for Migrant Victims

by Mark Holzberger

58 Chinese migrants suffocated on June 19th in a Dutch lorry in which they had been smuggled onto British soil. The tragedy serves as a welcome argument to the EU member states to shore up its efforts to combat "trafficking human beings". Yet, the EU's Ministers of the Interior conveniently overlook the fact that commercial refugee "smuggling" only became possible as a result of the creation of the "Fortress Europe".

129b of the German Criminal Code - Europe's Precedence

by Mark Holzberger

Due to a Joint Action adopted in December of 1998 all EU member states are compelled to introduce the crime of creating a "criminal organization" into their respective national criminal codes. For the Federal Republic of Germany this means that although a Red-Green coalition has come into power, it will not be possible to completely do away with the catalogue of political criminal offenses introduced into the German criminal code during the anti-terrorist hysteria of the 70's.

Statewatch summary of other stories in this issue

News from Europe

Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement signed.

After 4 years of negotiations, the EU MLA has been signed on 29 May this year. The signing of the Convention points to how the Council envisions future consultations with the European Parliament under the Amsterdam Treaty. Only nine of the 64 EP recommendations were incorporated in the Convention and they were merely formal changes. A call for the strengthening of the rights of defence were ignored. The EP received the draft during parliamentary holidays in August 1999 and was consistently urged to hand in its recommendations.

Europol after Tampere

Is it possible to follow the Council's call for more powers for Europol "in the near future" which it made in Tampere, without changing the law? That was the central question for the Finnish Presidency in November as well as for the relevant statements made by Member States, the Commission and Europol itself this February. The Netherlands in particular is demanding a legal instrument in form of a Protocol to be ratified by all Member States for Europol's powers to be extended. It sees Europol as a "supporting organisation" where powers of intervention should remain with the national police forces. The Netherlands holds that even Europol's participation in common investigation teams necessitates a new Protocol, supplementing the Europol Convention.

The German delegation on the other hand believes this participation is guaranteed under Article 13 of the Convention.

The Europol delegation on the other hand is calling for a "flexible interpretation" and an exposition of the possibilities that are given under the current convention. Joint teams, for example are already meeting, with or without Europol.

For executive powers to be obtained by Europol or national officers on foreign soil, there would need to be a framework decision on an EU level and relevant changes in the national legislation. But only the 'third step', where Europol and national officers would obtain full rights of execution, would necessitate a fundamental renewal of the Europol Convention.

The operational activity of Europol is already fulfilled. A High Level Working Group under the Council's auspices still needs to be created in order to fulfil the tasks of the Europol administrative Council as well as the regular meetings of the heads of the national Europol troops, both of which are provided for in the Convention

Eurojust - a European judicial appendix?

A common NOTE by Portugal, France, Sweden and Belgium (Doc 7384/00) says that "The creation of Eurojust based on Article 24 para 2(c) EUV, represents the fastest way to implement the Council recommendation 46 (Tampere) and to rapidly make Eurojust operational." This does not rule out parallel negotiations on a Convention. As usual policy makers want to proceed quickly. The Council decided on the creation of a "Eurojust Unit", represented by public prosecutors, judges and police officers. The up to now unknown "legal instrument" underlying this unit is supposed to be ready by the end of 2001. Negotiations for a Convention would take too long, so a mere ministerial decision has to suffice, a UKAS (?) which allows the plans to go ahead without much close reading of the text.

This basis, merely dealing with the executive, is fatal for a judicial institution which might even be the precedent for a European public prosecution office. Up to now, there are only "first thoughts" of the presidency, the above mentioned NOTE and a paper by the German Federal Department of Justice (BMJ).

Details of NOTE: (Member States (MS) to send national representatives to form a Committee, jurisdiction includes offences dealt with by Europol, computer criminality, protection of EU financial interests, money laundering and bribery). When Europol's executive powers are extended, so will Eurojust.

Further, common responsibilities for Eurojust and national members will be the 'clearing house' (informing national authorities about investigation, lodging requests for common investigation teams to MS and requests to start investigations, i.e. to transfer investigations to another MS)

On a practical level, Eurojust would be given the work by national authorities or from Europol. Eurojust would not control Europol, but vice versa, Europol retains powers over when to initiate an investigation, so the police would remain in full control over the procedures on an EU level.

Different from the NOTE, the BMJ has already presented a full draft recommendation for the Council. It points to the same direction but is far more informal. The BMJ does not want a committee but a collection of staff (Stab Eurojust) made up of liaison officers. There is no mention of the MLA. Eurojust would support Europol on the latter's initiative etc.

In the BMJ paper, there is only a concrete reference to networking between national criminal and procedural registers in Article 6. The open wording of its remits allows for a fast implementation of the "Stab". The creation of Europol began in 1993 with a ministerial agreement which allowed the operation of the Europol Drugs Unit under a temporary/ provisional arrangement over the last five years. In a similar manner, they probably want to impose a fait accompli with regards to Eurojust as well.

(Heiner Busch)

Chronology of events

March 2000

-Border Guard sentenced to four years for drugs smuggling

-Police kills petrol robber.

-Genetic tests now possible without judicial order, but those concerned need to agree.

-Proceedings of Kurds who occupied Israeli embassy have been stopped.

April 2000

-Police kill man in shoot out.

-House search of Kurdish representatives.

-German and Bulgaria sign agreement on technical and financial help for Bulgarian police and border guard officers.

-Police allowed to intercept calls that are set up by the police (entrapment), with the use of acquaintances of the suspect.

May 2000

-Hesse has started the pilot project for electronic shackles for convicts.

-asylum seeker commits suicide after 7 months detention in the transit area of the Frankfurt airport.

-Hessian police laws allow increased powers (undercover operations, CCTV surveillance in cities, up to 6 days custody).

- interception laws curtailed, now interception of the home and offices is only possible in case of murder, terrorist activities or hostage situations.

-BKA presents new DNA analysis package.

June 2000

-African killed in racist attack.

-3 police officers murdered by killer.

- annual ai report condemns Germany's deportation practice, and racist police conduct. Also the police killing a falsely suspected rambler was seen as a human rights violation.

- 4 years after the arson attack on an asylum seekers home in Lübeck and after 3 years of legal proceedings against a victim, public prosecution has now started proceedings against 4 skinheads.

-new police law in Saxony-Anhalt (mass controls to fight cross border crime, increased CCTV powers).

-new ammunition for police in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria (deformation bullets with increased "powers to stop")


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