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Saxony-Anhalt premier under fire for comparing police IDs to Jewish stars

The Local · 26 Jul 2011, 10:30

Published: 26 Jul 2011 10:30 GMT+02:00

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“From the German history, I think a requirement to label people is simply intolerable and unacceptable,” the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday quoted him as saying on a radio programme earlier this week.

Haseloff, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union, is a strong opponent of requiring uniformed police to wear name tags or identification numbers, something Berlin started requiring its officers to do this week in order to increase accountability.

In a statement, Haseloff denied he was talking about how Jews were labelled during the Third Reich, but instead was “speaking against the background of personal experiences in” communist East Germany. He has since refused to return phone calls from reporters seeking comment.

The remarks have prompted a furious reaction from Jewish groups and Haseloff’s political opponents.

“Of course he meant the Nazi era,” Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. “He spoke nonsense.”

Sebastian Edathy, a Bundestag member with the centre-left Social Democratic party called Haseloff’s remarks a “totally incomprehensible and absurd statement.”

Police identification requirements have been a controversial issue in the last few months with police unions and some officers arguing that name tags will make them and their families the targets of criminals.

Story continues below…

But the city of Berlin has dismissed such concerns as overblown, seeing the police identification as a way to increase transparency and accountability in the force.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:52 July 26, 2011 by auniquecorn
2 things come to mind,

1, you can´t inforce police brutality, when you cant identify the cop that beat the sh!t out of you.

2, you cannot legally be a currupt politician, if you don´t protect the police.
10:56 July 26, 2011 by wood artist
Society grants extraordinary power to the police, to stop, to detain, to arrest, and even to use physical violence when appropriate and necessary. In some ways we grant them the power of life and death.

Very few of those entrusted fail us, but, regrettably, it can and does happen. At those times, the ability to identify those responsible is important, and a transparent investigation paramount. To suggest that a name badge is inappropriate is to deny the obvious. Although I'm not certain, assuming his words are accurately quoted here, he was equating a name tag with the Jewish star, it's not an unreasonable reading of his words. If that wasn't what he meant, he's only making it worse by refusing a clarification.

12:15 July 26, 2011 by hOU
Labeling police is a great idea ... how about PIG?
12:26 July 26, 2011 by Lachner
Why not label them with a number then?
12:56 July 26, 2011 by Englishted
Yes a number ,I swear I knew a policeman in England who was P.C.69 .
13:32 July 26, 2011 by ECSNatale
"From the German history, I think a requirement to label people is simply intolerable and unacceptable,¦quot; - if that is a correct translation of what he said, some people need to take a serious chill pill.

What on earth is wrong with that? Despite the fact that some just lather at the mouths to tell other people what their real meanings were, even if he was talking about the 1930s as a lesson for not labeling people he is absolutely right.
14:19 July 26, 2011 by Loth
In America police have badge numbers. Its to protect the rights of those they come into contact with. Sometimes the bad ones cover up their number though.
14:44 July 26, 2011 by lunchbreak
I love it. Police shouldn't have to wear name tags because they might have to be responsible for their behavior. Perfect.
14:54 July 26, 2011 by GolfAlphaYankee
@Lachner: because a number is mach more difficult to memorize.
15:56 July 26, 2011 by lucksi
If the police have nothing to hide and do no wrong, then they have nothing to fear, right?
17:52 July 26, 2011 by catjones
A name tag is not a label; it's a discrete identification. The jewish star did not identify the individual; it was a label.
18:32 July 26, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
"The remarks have prompted a furious reaction from Jewish groups and Haseloff¦#39;s political opponents. "

Naturally his opponants will jump on anything potentially harmful to his image, and of course Jewish groups will be ultra-sensitive to any mention of the Third Reich. Are these people blowing it out of proportion? Absolutely. Haseloff was trying to make a comprehensible, well-known comparison to argue his point, which was that Police shouldn't need ID badges like they are at a speed dating convention. They're the law for God's sake. With this measure, the police could be forced by "accountability" not to use the neccessary force or judgement to stop/investigate/prevent crimes. Just a thought.
14:39 July 27, 2011 by vonSchwerin
It would be more accurate to say that NOT having public identification on police uniforms is more like the Third Reich: anonymous uniformed men have the right to detain you and take away your rights, but you don't know exactly who is doing this.

And what's so wrong about a name tag? Why can't I be able to say, "Excuse me, Herr Kommissar Schmidt, . . . " or whatever his name is?
02:00 July 29, 2011 by mike_1983
even if he was referring to the 1930´s whats the big deal??? overblown story!!!!
19:39 July 29, 2011 by scoobydube
The LAST time I checked, the BUNDESWEHR had to wear name tags on their uniforms. Like ALL armed services around the world, the POLIZEI should be held ACCOUNTABLE for their actions/misdeeds. Here in the U.S. all Police Officers are issued bagdes with numbers on them, thus holding them accountable to the citizens of that city/town. Yes, 'cops' have been know to 'switch' badges to avoid detection, but that rearly happens. And least you not forget that all cell phones have the capability to capture the (miss)deeds, still or video, for all to see on their evening/nightly news .....
01:04 July 30, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
Cops in America wear numbered badges AND name tags.
13:29 July 30, 2011 by Satanya_SS
A number, is all that is needed.

Of course a name tag on Police Officers would make them and their families vulnerable to criminal's revenges and negative retributions.

You shouldn't use a country worse off than your own, as an example when the subject is of progressive nature.

At any rate:

Cops in America do not wear numbered AND name tags is EVERY single state.

And that is of course for a reason.

10:14 August 3, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
Everybody in Germany has a tax number, many a personnel number at work, others are forced to wear their name on the overalls (Aldi for example), so why not the police? In the town of Hove (UK), where I grew up, the Bobbies all wore a metal badge on their uniform with a number which could be referred to in cases of complaint. This meant that their senior officers knew who was causing trouble, but at the same time personal revenge, outside of working hours was less likely.

On the other side, I do find it ridiculous that there is a taboo about comparing anything to the Third Reich. Looking round the world as it is today, there is much going on which is very similar to what happened during the Hitler regime. Just the times and places have changed.
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