• Germany's news in English

Police stick to refusal to make officers wear identifying badges

The Local · 14 Nov 2010, 11:42

Published: 14 Nov 2010 11:42 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Dieter Glietsch, president of Berlin’s police, and the capital’s Interior Minister Ehrhard Körting have both spoken out in favour of identification, but the national council of police has rejected the idea.

Their suggested compromise is to give police officers the choice of wearing a badge with either their name or an identifying number on it, according to Bodo Pfalzgraf, from the German police union. A decision on this idea should be made by the end of the month.

Yet most of the state police forces are against making their officers identify themselves in a way accessible to the public – a prospect which was raised again after demonstrations in Stuttgart turned violent.

Thuringia’s interior minister Peter Huber said Berlin was the only state not to agree on this, while his state’s parliament voted on Friday against such a duty for officers taking part in large operations. Politicians said individual police officers should not be put in the position of being vulnerable to being singled out or put in danger.

“Uniforms are marked with service codes, which makes identification possible at any time,” a spokesman for Saxony’s interior ministry said. That should be enough, he added.

Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt agreed with this point of view, with a spokesman for the latter saying that criminal investigation into a police officer had never failed due to a lack of identification.

A spokesman for the Bavarian interior ministry said the USK units – the state special police – were often deployed during left-wing and right-wing demonstrations. “We fear that in certain circumstances one or the other colleague could be put under pressure in their private lives if they were known by name,” said a spokesman.

In Baden-Württemberg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, uniformed officers have the option to wear name badges and often do, with no negative consequences, said a spokeswoman for the former state. Police units used in large operations do not wear them, although their uniforms and helmets are marked with identifying codes.

Story continues below…

Brandenburg is the only state apart from Berlin to see things differently, with a broad political consensus that identification should become mandatory for uniformed officers. Yet no decision has yet been reached on what form this identification should take.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:52 November 14, 2010 by chicagolive
Well the European police forces are only keeping alive the state police of the old Warsaw pact even though they always condemn them, they have followed exactly in their footsteps. Lets be honest what is the chances of police really being convicted of anything unless the state has no choice, I have friends who work in the Polizei and they will always say alot of people are in because they know in 90% of cases nothing will happen to them if they do something against a citizen especially if it is a Aüslander
18:34 November 14, 2010 by catjones
I don't understand their fear of recognition unless it restricts their behavior. The clean cops should have no concern and given that police forces in civilized countries around the world wear identification proves the counter arguments are baseless. As with most German government workers, they resist accountability.
10:27 November 15, 2010 by Meringer
They are not afraid of being identified to the authorities. They fear personal attacks on themselves and their families, whether it be public smear campaigns by certain publications or physical attacks to themselves, their families or their property in reprisal for actions taken by them in their official capacity. I am an American officer and I had my home set on fire by gang member drug dealers while I was at work. My wife and child were in the home at the time. Thank God, the fire was put out before the home was fully engulfed, thanks to a passer by who call 911.
11:14 November 15, 2010 by Johnne

I for one have experienced some polizei bully several times in times in this country as a black person. I will celebrate if police officers wear identification numbers or names. It is true that 90% of police officers in this country believe they´re totally above the law, infact you see it on their faces when look at you as an obvious auslander. In this modern day of civilization, 21st century, I find it shamefull to see police officers staring at dark skin foreigners as if their only function is to stop & harrass them. I believe most of need to ask for forgivness.
11:30 November 15, 2010 by DoubleDTown
I don't see what the police are worried about. Uniform I.D. is usually removable, so that it can go from one uniform to another -- or into the officer's pocket when convenient. See Green Day "riot" at Boston Esplanade, 1995. Mass State Troopers mysteriously have their I.D. "stolen" by crazed college kids as the kids run from police dogs, at least that's what the Troopers told the press about where their badges and nameplates were.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd