German Police

Aug 1, 2019
folder_opencategory: Law

Maintenance of public order and security is among the most important duties of any federal government. In Germany, it is a collective responsibility of both federal states and the federal government. The police are in the majority of cases governed by the federal states. However, under certain chapters of the law of the federal republic, the federal government is obliged to take over the national police service. Every state in Germany has its police force and in turn creates laws that determine the responsibilities of the police. The federal police in charge of domestic and border security are the Bundengrenzschutz (BGS) (Thériault, 2013). Policing is more than what is seen by the common citizens. Today’s police officers constantly face shifting working atmospheres considering the mobile and communicative society we live in. The occurrence of sophisticated crimes that did not exist before makes the public expect additional services from the authorities. It rounds up to the duty of the police system. It only takes an organized system to produce a calm society. Police officers undergo much scrutiny from the point of recruitment considering the restrictions in both physical and academic qualifications; during the training; and finally in public.

Unique Features of the Recruitment, Training, and Qualifications of Police Recruits

To qualify to become a part of the German federal police, one must be a citizen of Germany and be able to communicate both in German and English. The minimum age at the time of recruiting police officers is 16 years for middle police officers with a maximum of 27 years of age. Top-level officers should be a maximum of 31 years old. It also calls for outstanding physical fitness with minimum height for males at 165cm and a maximum of 165cm. Females have a minimum of 163cm. The applicants should not have any disability interfering with their personal movement or otherwise they will get a disqualification (Barton, 1974). Being overweight or underweight is also a reason for disqualification. In Germany, the maximum BMI allowed to serve as a BGS is 27.5. However, class, race, and special skills are not basic requirements for recruitment, although they may act as an added advantage. The German police sector is strict on clean criminal records of its recruits. Any individual punished by the court of law whether sentencing or probation will not qualify for recruitment. Police training in Germany lasts for two and a half or three years. The training involves scientific and professional education with practical knowledge related to the police work. The recruits in turn acquire a similar education to other employees of the state administration.

Comparison and contrast of the German Police and the US System of Recruitment, Training, and Qualification Standards The German system of police training has no distinction between police education and training. This fact sets the German system apart from the United States one (Barton, 1974). The United States has a clear distinction between police training and education. In the US, police organizations concentrate majorly on training that is performed by the police academies. The police academies are not recognized by the educational institutions. Instead, the trainees may be given credit hours for a college education (Orrick, 2008). The borderline between education and training is therefore more articulated in the US than in Germany. In the US, police academies do not provide official degrees after training. The higher educational institutions also offer courses like criminal justice, but do not offer special training for specific police agencies. In Germany, due to the increasing need for knowledge among the police, police institutions, and educational curriculum in the training, the institutions are trying to focus on knowledge and skills essential for the best performance of police duties (Barton, 1974). It in turn differs from the programs in the United States that focus only on legal processes and police administration. The American police academies are criticized for not conducting training related to problem solving and community policing. Such training relies less on the trainees’ physical abilities. Furthermore, the training encourages the aspects of aggressiveness and masculinity among the police officers making it difficult to study, especially for women.

In the United States, the minimum age required for joining the police training is 21 years at the time of hiring. The US records a higher limit in age and educational level compared to the German institutions. The US high school graduation or an equivalent from a US institution is the minimum academic requirement to join the police academies (Orrick, 2008). On the other hand, recruitment in the United States tends to be lenient on height and weight to accommodate all races and genders. The only requirement is that the height has to match the body weight. The requirement was reviewed to favor females in the United States. The United States allow permanent resident foreigners into the police service. Germany is, however, strict on the citizenship of the applicants thereby facilitating criticism because of discrimination. The two nations, however, have several common requirements and features in their police recruitment and training. They both enact requirements that tend to favor the female gender to enhance equality. They also put much emphasis on the physical fitness of the applicants.

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The Major Roles of Policing in Germany and Innovative Police Practice from German Policing

Germany has a very organized police force. The 16 states interior ministers are in charge of the police forces. Regional headquarters are subordinate to the minister and are in charge of a given area within big cities. They carry out supervisory and administrative functions over the Direktionen (district police headquarters). The Direktionen has approximately between 200,000 and 600,000 residents. Below them is the Inspektion or Revier (local stations) that operates on 24 hours basis carrying out the daily community policing. There are also the Ordnungsamt (City Security) in most cities. They carry out minor policing, and their duties differ from city to city. From a general perspective, they monitor traffic and control immoral doings of the citizens. The federal state police are categorized into various departments that are similar in all states to execute duties effectively. The Schutzpolizei (Patrol Service) prevents petty crimes and manages traffic offenses, as they are most likely to be in contact with the ordinary citizens. The Kriminalpolizei (plain-clothes detectives) are in charge of investigations. The Landeskriminalamt (Criminal Investigation Department) supervises the operations related to investigations to avoid interference. Other police departments are the Bereitschaftspolizei (Ready Reaction Police), the Wasserschutzpolizei (Water Police) and the Spezialeinheiten (Special Forces Units) (Thériault, 2013).

German states have policing philosophies that enhance service delivery. An example is the KomunaleKriminalprävention (Community Crime Prevention). Both the authorities and the local organizations come up with measures to rescue the youth from the involvement in criminal and violent activities. The police sector encourages the residents to take up the philosophy of community policing as individual responsibility and in turn, it brings about well-defined results. The German Crime Prevention Forum was established in 2001 as a form of collaboration between the states and the federal government. It gives a broader range of measures to societal crime prevention. It incorporates all government ministries in charge of security with all social aspects of the community including schools and churches among others. The creditable viewpoint of the Crime Prevention Forum is that felony avoidance is the duty of the society as a whole. For this reason, it integrates all the proficient governmental departments and ministries along with pertinent social resources such as trade unions, churches, schools, youth counseling centers, business management, social and housing services, health care providers, and many others (Solsten, 2011).

Crime Challenges and the Impact of the Specific Crime Challenges to Police Operations

Drug trafficking possesses are a great challenge to the police. Sealing transit points for drugs to avoid the international trade market comes with some hurdles. The traffickers who control enormous wealth are insulated by both the top police and other levels of the government, therefore, influencing the termination of cases. The police also lacks comprehensive legislation to help them curb new waves of crimes that use modern technology like cybercrime, manage theft by impersonation, copyrighting, and so on (Samara, Al-Salihy, & Sures, 2010). Organized group crimes such as the Italian and American Mafias and the Chinese Triads represent a great challenge to the police. They may be difficult to control due to the constant transition of people, money and goods causing rampant illicit economies.

Organizational Challenges and Their Impact on Police Operations and Behaviors

The majority of police organizations tends to be paramilitary in nature and is therefore designed to be a command and control typology. They are hierarchical and centralized where the authority has a top-down structure. Such organizations focus on crime control as their main duty and struggle to maintain their status quo. They may be appropriate for societies with little social change. They have therefore been invaluable for developing social order and stability. The organization of the police structure should instead consider specialization and division of labor. The police no longer meet the demands of a diverse community. It is the ongoing frustrating process of the police career that develops the attitudes and aggressiveness of police officers. Responsibilities of the police are getting stricter every day. The daily routine can always turn chaotic.

Conclusion

It is evident that the police in general face many problems affecting their performance. The problems are mostly institutional and operational and altogether encumber police responsibility. The public confidence in the police is diminished due to their alleged violations like extortion and unnecessary killings. To win the hearts of the citizens, they need to build much confidence and accountability by discharging their duties professionally.

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