German government split over police racial profiling study

German interior minister Horst Seehofer wants to press pause on a planned study on racial profiling by the country's police forces, but the justice minister, Christine Lambrecht, has said it is "right and important" that the study take place.

"BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s top security and justice officials are at odds over calls to study the use of racial profiling by police, a practice that human rights activists say is widespread in the country.

Earlier this year, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance recommended that federal and state police in Germany commission a study into the use of racial profiling.

Germany’s Interior Ministry, which oversees federal police, initially agreed to the idea, but a ministry spokesman backtracked on Monday.

“So-called racial profiling isn’t permitted. This is taught during the initial and ongoing training, and it doesn’t happen,” the spokesman, Steve Alter, told reporters in Berlin.


Germany’s justice minister, Christine Lambrecht, said late Monday that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance’s recommendation to study racial profiling in policing was “right and important, in order to get the latest facts.”"

According to AP, Seehofer has said he wants to receive a report being drawn up on "extremist and racist tendencies" amongst public servants before considering the study on racial profiling.

See: German government split over police racial profiling study (PBS, link)

The recommendation made by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI, a Council of Europe body) was clear:

"ECRI recommends that the police authorities of the Federation and the Länder commission and participate in a study on racial profiling with the aim of developing and implementing measures that eliminate existing and prevent future racial profiling."

See: ECRI report on Germany (sixth monitoring cycle) (pdf), adopted on 10 December 2019

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