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OPINION: CRIME AMONG REFUGEES

CRIME

Even police can be idiots and incendiaries

Police unions are doing more harm than good with repeated panic-laden interventions in the refugee debate, argues the head of the Federation of German Detectives.

Even police can be idiots and incendiaries
Police voices have been increasingly loud since the sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve. Photo: DPA

Of course it doesn't immediately make you a far-right agitator or a Nazi to criticize the asylum policy of the federal government or the European Union. But, as so often, it's not about whether you criticize, but how you do it.

Current refugee numbers are making an ever-larger part of the German population utterly afraid. This fear is mostly vague and only rarely really justified – but we should not and must not ignore these concerns.

We have to confront these fears realistically and in terms of their content. To form your own opinion, you need transparent and neutral information. This is where the various media outlets play a decisive role.

But some are doing less and less to live up to this role, reporting in a one-sided, skewed way. It's becoming difficult for consumers to extract the real informational content. At the same time, untruths are being purposefully spread by the far-right, which spread quickly thanks to social media.

Crime happens in the best families

It's also unhelpful when police union representatives adopt the mantle of “speaking the truth”, starting political fires by “finally saying out loud what the lying press is keeping from us.”

Asylum seekers commit crimes too? What a surprise. This phenomenon is called ubiquity, and it happens in the best families. There are fights between different groups? How astonishing!

Refugee accommodation in the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin. Photo: DPA

If you were to squeeze 1,500 Franconians and 1,500 Upper Bavarians – i.e., two foreign cultures – into an empty hardware store without any kind of privacy and consign them to doing nothing for weeks, then within a very short time there would be tensions and fisticuffs.

There are some cases of sexual assaults? How surprising, if you pen up 80 women and girls together with 2,500 mostly young men in very tight quarters. That makes every trip to the shower a run through the gauntlet.

When does one become a criminal?

These questions are straight from the first semester of criminology: When does a person become a criminal? What are the causes of deviant behaviour? Anyone who works in the police should know the answers to these questions.

Police watch over the Reeperbahn party district in Hamburg in early January after reports of sexual assaults by foreigners there. Photo: DPA

So are some of these self-appointed police representatives really speaking the truth, or are they speaking ignorance? Or – even worse – speaking out of premeditated malice, because they themselves have already formed a judgement on the matter?

At the moment, there is an increase in crimes, especially of property crimes committed by asylum seekers, which is serious and which can't be rationalized away.

Criminals are all individual cases

But even here we must always deal with the individual cases. Most of the perpetrators are people from north and west Africa, from the Caucasus and the Balkans.

These people have not really fled from war, nor are they persecuted in any way. They've used the opportunity now to travel into Germany and commit crimes.

It's the job of detectives to investigate these perpetrators and to deliver the appropriate punishment with the help of the justice system. For that, we need sufficient personnel and material resources.

There are already enough blithering idiots who claim to be speaking the truth but are in fact pouring oil on the fire of the far right and giving a leg-up to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), National Democratic Party (NPD), Pegida and so on – because they haven't thought things through.

They aren't helping us make a single inch of progress as a society. They aren't part of the solution, but part of the problem.

 

André Schulz has been President of the Federation of German Detectives (BDK) since 2011.

He is a detective chief superintendent in Hamburg and teaches at the BDK's Detective Academy on subjects including cybercrime, organized crime, terrorism, extremism, and drugs policy.

This article originally appeared in German in Die Welt.

 

For members

BREXIT

EXPLAINED: How can Brits visit or move to Germany post-Brexit?

Many Brits may be considering spending time in Germany or even moving for work or to study. Here's a look at the rules.

EXPLAINED: How can Brits visit or move to Germany post-Brexit?

The Brexit transition period ended on January 1st 2021, but it’s been a turbulent few years with Covid-related restrictions, which mean many people may not have travelled abroad since then. Here’s what you should know about the rules for travelling and moving to Germany post-Brexit. 

Can I visit Germany from the UK on holiday?

Absolutely. But you do have to stick to certain rules on how long you can stay in Germany (and other EU countries) without a visa.

“British citizens do not require a visa for the Schengen Member States, if the duration of their stay does not exceed 90 days within any 180-day period,” says the German Missions consular service in the UK. 

You can find a full explanation of the 90-day rule from our sister site, The Local France, HERE, along with the Schengen calculator that allows you to work out your allowance.

READ ALSO: Passport scans and €7 fees: What will change for EU travel in 2022 and 2023

Note that if you were living in Germany before January 1st 2021, different rules apply. People in this scenario should have received a residence permit – known as the Aufenthaltstitel-GB – from the German authorities, which proves their right to remain in Germany with the same rights as they had before Brexit. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can I re-enter Germany without my post-Brexit residence card?

Can I move to Germany from the UK after the Brexit transition period?

Yes. But if you are coming to Germany to live and work, you will need to apply for the right documents, like other so-called ‘third country nationals’. All foreigners from outside the EU who want to to stay in Germany for more than three months have to get a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). 

As we touched on above, citizens from some countries (including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Switzerland) are allowed entry into Germany without a visa and can apply for a residence permit while in the country. You can contact the Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde) in your area to find out how to get a residence permit.

You’ll need various official documents, such as a valid passport, proof of health insurance and proof that you can support yourself. You usually receive your residence permit as a sticker in your passport.

Passengers wait at Hamburg airport.

Passengers at Hamburg airport. Brits coming to Germany have more things to consider after Brexit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz

Germany has a well-documented skilled worker shortage at the moment so there are work permit options to consider that may suit your circumstances. 

For the work visa for qualified professionals, for instance, your qualifications have to be either recognised in Germany or comparable to those from a German higher education facility. 

You may also be able to get an EU Blue Card. This residence permit is aimed at attracting and enabling highly qualified third-country nationals to live in the EU. 

It comes with benefits, including the right to to request and bring family members to the country, and shortcuts for applying for permanent residency. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How German citizenship differs from permanent residency

When applying for a Blue Card in Germany this year, you have to earn a minimum gross salary (before tax) of €56,400 – down from €56,800 in 2021. 

In so-called shortage occupations (Mangelberufe), where there is a high number of unfilled positions, the minimum gross salary is €43,992 – down from €44,304 in 2021.

Shortage occupations include employees in the sectors of mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering and medicine.

If you want to come to Germany from the UK to study then you also need to apply for a visa. For this you may need proof of acceptance to the university or higher education institution of your choice and possibly proof of your German language skills.

Check out the useful government website Make it in Germany for more detailed information, as well as the German Missions in the UK site, which has lots of info on travel after Brexit, and on visas.  

What else should I know?

The German government plans to reform the immigration system, although it’s not clear at this stage when this will happen. 

It will move to a points-based system, inspired by countries like Canada, where foreigners will have to score above a certain threshold of points to get a residence or work permit.

This scoring system will be set by the government, but it will include factors like language skills, family connections to the country, specific qualifications or work-related skills, or the amount of money in your bank account.

Keep an eye on The Local’s home page for updates on the changes to immigration laws. 

Have you moved to Germany – or are thinking about moving – after the Brexit transition period and want to share your experiences? Please get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

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