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Police strip-search teens over missing €5
Photo: DPA

Police strip-search teens over missing €5

Published: 03 Dec 2012 10:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Dec 2012 10:54 GMT+01:00

Police officers who forced teenage students to strip, some of them completely naked, in the hunt for a stolen €5 at a school in Munich are now being investigated themselves after pupils and their parents complained.

Teachers stood by while the children were strip-searched, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Monday.

Police offers were at the Friedrich-List Economics School last Tuesday to talk to a class of 27 students aged 13 and 14 about moral courage in a public setting, when one girl complained that €5 was missing from her jacket pocket.

This prompted the youth liaison officer to call for back-up and organize a strip-search of the teenagers. Four officers split the pupils according to gender and searched them in separate classrooms.

"Some of the schoolgirls had to briefly open their bras, while some schoolboys had their underpants searched," police spokesman Wolfgang Wenger told the paper.

One 14-year-old boy told the paper a police officer had looked up his backside with a torch - after he had initially refused to take his underpants off.

By the afternoon, relatives of one student had called the police to complain. "Our internal investigations section took on the case immediately and went to the school that day to clear up the matter," said Wenger.

"One can search bags and get people to take off their coats on suspicion of theft, even when it's only €5. But obviously it was way over the top to search the students in such an intimate fashion."

All four police officers involved are now themselves under investigation.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said some of the students were so upset by what happened that they did not go to school the day afterwards. At least two teachers who were present at the time failed to step in to stop the searches but the school has refused to comment while the investigation is being conducted.

Public prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch told the paper he had "significant doubts about whether the measures taken were reasonable."

The police stressed that none of the students were forced to take off all their clothes, and that the strip-search had taken place only after checking with the school authorities.

But pupils told the Süddeutsche Zeitung they all had to take off their T-shirts and trousers and that in some cases their genitals have been checked.

One witness said, "By the end, all the girls were crying, and one of the boys had burst into tears too."

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Your comments about this article

11:29 December 3, 2012 by Snooker
OK OK. So they were upset, yadda yadda.

But was the money found?

Perhaps that isn't the question on everyone else's mind... but it was on mine from the opening statement.

In fact, I think it would have been a great ending to the article, "After the students were subjected to what many believed to be humiliation, the 5EUR has yet to be found".
11:50 December 3, 2012 by michael4096
I suspect that finding the money wasn't the objective. It was a lesson in you-don't want-to-go-down-this-road. Though, I think it went too far and probably has unintended consequences.

Once, my young son decided that taking other peoples money was easier than earning pocket money. I let the local cops give him a tour of the cells and he stopped. But (a) he was guilty whereas most of the victims here were innocent and (b) it wasn't threatening or degrading.
12:49 December 3, 2012 by raandy
I find it interesting how the Police are trying to bounce this back on the school officials by stating they first checked with them. I doubt they have a taped conversation.

And yes ,was the money found? all this because a pupil said 5 euros was missing from her jacket pocket, It is not possible that she lost it. Way out of proportion to anything reasonable.
13:04 December 3, 2012 by ChrisRea
Could it be that the girl announcing the theft just wanted to see the other classmates naked?
13:28 December 3, 2012 by yourkeau
So, how do they prove that found 5-euro note belonged to the girl? Did she remember the note number? I doubt. Or will they take the note to the lab and look for the fingerprints to identify ownership?
13:37 December 3, 2012 by freechoice
anyone who gave such ideas for a body search should be subjected to pedophile investigation.
14:10 December 3, 2012 by lucksi
"talk about moral courage in a public setting"

Well, that failed. The teachers did nothing, the students did nothing. I'm not saying that someone -or a large group of people- should have stepped in and bludgeoned the cops to death, but...

If the article is true, then charges should be filed against the officers and the teachers. And btw dear police officers, the school cannot give the go ahead for strip searches. That is clearly outside of their power.

If this would have happened in the US, the kids would all be set for live now.
14:16 December 3, 2012 by raandy
lucks, excellent point, if my daughter had been forced to strip for a search ,only on the say so of another over the loss of a small amount of money. I would be talking to my lawyers.
16:23 December 3, 2012 by zameenzad
Bavarian Catholics !
16:42 December 3, 2012 by truth is treason
These officers will be the ones that will head up the training for the German TSA officers
16:48 December 3, 2012 by pjnt
If my daughter was strip searched in this manner, my lawyer would be involved. I would make certain every parent from the school was away which teachers and officers were involved and I would campaign to have all removed from their positions. The head of the school should lose his/her head for even considering this as a solution and the officer who authorized this should also go down in flames.

How things like this happen makes my head hurt. There must be some extremely perverted and/or mentally challenged people involved to have come to the conclusion this would be a good lesson for a class of innocent people to endure in the pursuit of one possible petty theft.

More than likely the girl either misplaced the money or the thief thought the whole thing more entertaining than classes and will repeat the process.

What a colossal failure of a supposed first world country.
18:19 December 3, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Münich Police PR Shill:

"We are pleased to announce that our strip search has turned up not one, but seven 5 Euro bills!"

@truth is treason

Good comment. When are they going to start tasing kids here too?
19:44 December 3, 2012 by Englishted
@ zameenzad

Strange comment based on no information in the article.

In Pakistan they shot a girl for going to school.
19:58 December 3, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
Why are so many Germans afraid of authority figures? Speak up people! Not after the fact, have courage, moral values and conviction, and speak up while the wrong is happening, not after the damage is done!

The teachers failed to protect their students as loco parentis (latin for "in place of the parents"). They are as guilty as the police officers. They should all be fired, criminally charged, sued and never earn a penny again in their professionally trained and chosen fields. Germany is such an ageist stratified society that if any of them are over 40 they will be done for.
20:01 December 3, 2012 by simple simon sez
@rrandy & Snooker & yourkeau

BINGO! First thought -- did they find the money? Second thought -- how could they prove that it was her missing 5 Euros? Third thought -- what if she was just messing with the authorities as adolescents have been known to do? Fourth thought -- was the "victim" also strip searched to see if she has misplaced Euros on her person. Finally -- REALLY??? For 5 missing Euros, police call for back-up to strip 26 13&14-year-old students???

But more than anything else, I believe that the teachers who granted permission and then witnessed the search should be suspended. These students were in their care. They were responsible.
20:21 December 3, 2012 by wxman
Some stuff never changes. It's in the DNA.
21:08 December 3, 2012 by wood artist
Not that a '"child" that age would think to do such a thing, but it would have been interesting had a student refused, pointing out that he.she had rights and if they were suspected of a crime they were entitled to be so informed, and demand that either they be arrested and charged or else taken to the police station and provided with a lawyer. I'm not sure how that all works within the German legal system, but in the US there is no way any individual could be searched without "probable cause" and simply being one of many in a group when somebody says "I lost a bit of money" does not qualify. Regardless, it's pretty obvious the police screwed up.

Like others I wonder if the bill was ever found, or for that matter, did she actually ever have the bill in the first place.

wa
21:33 December 3, 2012 by sir_steveoh
This is ridiculous use of police.

First of all, missing 5 bucks isn't a police matter, it could have been lost or misplaced.

As well, to strip search these young people is a violation of their human rights, and they should take this to the U.N., and human right commission.

As a Canadian I shake my head, what the heck was the school master thinking, and these teachers. Simply put, in Canada or the United States the parents would charge these teachers and the schools head master, and then file a law suit against the school system and police.

How can Germany a place of science and reason be so backward and inhuman.

Well I was to look into a multi million dollar deal with Siemens, but have decided to go with a Canadian competitor for light rail trains instead.

Backward countries don't get my business.
21:53 December 3, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Who remember 1933-1944? Thise who forgert the past, tend to repeat it ...
22:29 December 3, 2012 by lucksi
For those of you wondering if the money was found: 3 pupils had a 5 Euro bill in their wallet and all three were taken to police headquarters.

And no, I'm not making that up.

Actually, there are very clear guidelines (or someone is pulling my leg) on how far you can go with missing property. Under 50 Euro, police can search their jacket and purse. For a strip search, it has to be over 500 Euro.
03:11 December 4, 2012 by jjc12300
That's funny. I once read a small tome whose first sentence in English was rendered thus:

"Human dignity is inviolable..."
07:28 December 4, 2012 by raandy
lucksi what a surprise that a few of these students a fiver in their wallet, I wonder what they were going to do with all that money.
09:10 December 4, 2012 by delvek
What happened to teenagers!

When I was a teenager I wouldve happily pissed on the cops and school authorities if given the chance to drops my pants. I wouldve then kicked them in the bullocks with my combat boots.

These kids have no back bone, stand up to authority!
11:37 December 4, 2012 by raandy
delvek we are a dying breed :-)
16:18 December 6, 2012 by american25276
the cops should be fired and put in jail
18:48 December 7, 2012 by aslanleon
Great idea. Treat innocent people in a humiliating and degrading manner and then wonder why they loathe the police. Smart.
19:04 December 7, 2012 by tychonaut
.. umm... because everything suddenly got better in the last 6 months of the war?

Forgert, indeed.
07:24 December 8, 2012 by nightynight
On the one hand, this looks like an over the top reaction.

But on the other hand, one of the reasons why I got fed up with living in Britain was because the kids constantly take the p*** out of the police, and get away with everything because of their "rights."

What were the police to do, faced with a girl who says that money has just been stolen from her? Could they have done nothing (because asking her to come to the police station to report it, is doing nothing, as every kid in that class would have known).

In my experience, the Bavarian police are very professional, sometimes under considerable pressure. Therefore, I would hesitate to condemn them in this case.
13:27 December 11, 2012 by raandy
I wouldn't condem the Police Force but I sure as hell would the obtuse individuals in the PD that perpetrated this fiasco. Either in criminal court or civil court or both.
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