A report by NRW Interior Minister Ralf Stegner showed that part of the days-long hazing ritual involved two new recruits kneeling on the ground and eating a cocktail of ice cream and disgusting foodstuffs from between the thighs of another officer.
One of the men threw up out of revulsion, stated the report.
Other parts of the ritual saw the new SEK members bound with ropes so that they were unable to move.
But prosecutors in Aachen said that because the men were participating voluntarily in the hazing, they had no option but to drop their criminal investigation.
Now ten of the SEK officers are safe from legal consequences “because there was no evidence of prosecutable criminal offences”, Stegner's report found.
That's why the police unit's offences against morals and decency must be punished with internal disciplinary measures, Stegner told the state parliament's interior affairs committee on Thursday.
The unit, one of three in the cathedral city, has been taken off duty while police commanders in Cologne investigate what measures can be taken against the hazers – including possible reassignment away from the elite unit.
“People who infringe against the basic principles of the Cologne police must count on far-reaching disciplinary consequences,” police chief Wolfgang Albers said on Tuesday.
Elite are most likely to haze
Elite police units, “because they are exposed to danger like no other,” are the most likely to engage in hazing, police researcher Rafael Behr said on Wednesday.
The rituals serve to reinforce the “symbolic submission of one man to the others,” Behr said.
The point is not necessarily to humiliate recruits, he added, but to serve to integrate new members into the team and bind them together in advance of dangerous missions.