A German Policeman’s Lot is Not an Easy One

Boris Reitschuster is a popular German vlogger and journalist. I’ve posted his videos a number of times in the past, but below are three textual posts from his website, all translated by Hellequin GB.

The series began with an lengthy email from a policeman, which generated a lot of comment. This article — the most recent one — posts a message from a police officer that refers to previous articles:

Police officer insider report: We “literally work for the trash”

“Discrepancy in the political guidelines for migration policy and Corona measures”

A week ago I published the shocking insider report by a federal police officer about what was happening at the German-Polish border. It triggered a lot of reactions. I was particularly impressed by the letter from a policeman I knew. He confirmed the experiences of his colleague — and complained that the officials “literally work for the trash” and are measured by two standards on the instructions of politicians. Here is the letter from the policeman who earlier described interior views from the police service for my side:

This very authentic letter from a federal police officer relentlessly takes a look at the fundamental problems in this country. However, it is also a confirmation of my article and the existence of “critical officials” within the police apparatus.

The statements of the federal police officer regarding the migrants sound very familiar to me and must therefore be taken seriously!

A few additional thoughts that crossed my mind while reading the text of my colleague: As a police officer who witnessed [the migration crisis of] 2015 and what happened back then, there are clearly visible parallels compared to today. At that time, the events of politics and the media were presented in the best possible light, while the current conditions at the German borders were completely disregarded. Nonetheless, both approaches have in common that the difficulties associated with the issue are completely ignored and, moreover, critics of this type of migration policy are defamed as “right-wing populists”.

In connection with the letter from the federal police officer, it is also important to me to point out a fundamental problem to which, in my opinion, far too little attention is paid.

Also at the risk of expressing myself politically incorrectly: People who enter or stay in German federal territory illegally and without a valid passport are liable to prosecution within the meaning of Section 95 of the Residence Act. As a result, a police officer must file a criminal complaint if these provisions are in place. This also applies when people ask for asylum. If those migrants are unable to show any valid identity documents or residence permits (which is usually the case), they are initially suspected of violating Section 95 of the Residence Act.

As mentioned in the letter from the federal police officer, this means that if a large number of asylum seekers have been apprehended, a large number of police officers are also necessary to deal with the cases. This includes, among other things, the search, the production of a criminal complaint including identification measures, and, if necessary, the transfer to asylum shelters.

For a complete processing of such a case (!), the officer, in my experience as a state police officer, has to plan at least one hour. So you can imagine how lengthy the processing of numerous asylum seekers can be on the one hand and how much time remains for the police work “on the street” on the other.

However, what bothers me most in this area to this day, is that you knew and know that you are working symbolically “for the wastebasket” even before the production of reports began. Early on during the events in 2015, we were informed by the responsible public prosecutor’s office that the police would not be followed up with in connection with the illegal stay of people. You can surely imagine how motivated you are and how motivated you were when you’re doing the paperwork, when you know that what you have written can only serve as the filling in a wastepaper basket, but at the same time it is made clear to you by a manager that failing to prepare a criminal complaint comprises a criminal offense of obstruction of punishment in office. Finally, just a small reference to the fact that in Germany the public prosecutor’s offices are dependent on the instructions of the respective ministers of justice…

As can be seen in the colleague’s letter, the discrepancy between the political guidelines for migration policy and the Corona measures is considerable.

In my opinion, this is due to the fact that politicians know exactly parts of the population on which they can impose tough measures and which parts, in their opinion, they have to be extremely careful of so that no backlash and “unsightly images” are generated ( Keyword: appeasement policy).

I think it is obvious that none of this can be in the interests of social cohesion in Germany.

I would like to thank my colleague for his words and I hope that the readers of this page were able to get an authentic look at the policeman’s working world, which is often the subject of numerous speculations.

The second article features an earlier response from another police officer:

Asylum seekers at the border with Poland: For a police officer it’s the last straw and he unloads

“The mood in the Federal Police is explosive”

The report of a police officer from the inside of his precinct became one of the most read texts in the last few weeks on reitschuster.de.

After the publication, our readers continued to discuss and debate, often creating added value that goes beyond the articles.

Regarding said report, reitschuster.de received a personal letter to Boris Reitschuster for publication. We like to do that. Here another courageous official confirms the statements of his colleague.

Particularly explosive: while the official impression is given that there are rejections at the border, according to the official’s report, there are none at all. That provides massive political fuel. I… but please read for yourself and please continue to discuss, in the comment sections for the article and in the social networks.

Hello Mr. Reitschuster,

I am a police officer of the federal police conducting an inspection on the border with Poland.

I can only agree with the policeman’s letter, also among my colleagues there are these and those, and the mood in the Federal Police is charged.

Especially in the current situation on the border with Poland, where (hundreds of) migrants cross the border every day. I personally brought these migrants to the ZABH Eisenhüttenstadt and took on the processing of the asylum applications. Officials from inspections in the surrounding areas are sent to Eisenhüttenstadt for processing on a daily basis. Districts even have to be closed because there are not enough staff.

I would like to say that all operational officials in my area see themselves being withdrawn from their task of guarding the border; we have to watch and participate in how our country is destroyed by ensuring that no one is deported, and more migrants flow into our social system and receive benefits.

So this system has to break down at some point.

It is the same with the implementation of the Corona measures. There are officials who follow everything to look good with their superiors, which also affects award and promotion. There are stupid mask objectors and simply objectors against everything that affects the state (representatives of the police/civil servants).

The disrespect continues to grow, verbally and physically.

The boss is only interested in sending positive messages up for their own advancement in the hierarchy. Building towers (report task numbers upwards) is a running term for the work of superiors. The officers on the street, in the train station, are pressured to generate case numbers, under all circumstances.

The majority of them do their work with a sense of proportion and weigh up whether it is really necessary to enforce everything immediately against citizens with advertisements or rather to rely on persuading/convincing them.

The approach of our colleagues at the so-called Querdenker demonstrations also aroused ambivalent feelings in us, and we asked ourselves after seeing many of those pictures: How can you do that?

a federal policeman

The final article is the one that provoked a response from so many readers:

A policeman unpacks: Inside views from a torn police force

Appeal to critics: “Let’s stick together instead of annihilating each other!”

Society in the Federal Republic has never been as divided as it is today. Deep trenches run across our country. The police are also affected. Because of the tough crackdown on the corona measures and against demonstrators, officials are no longer “friends and helpers” for many. The police themselves are torn apart — and blanket judgments hit the critical officials hard. A loyal reader of my site, with whom I have been in contact for a long time and who is doing his police service in a major German city to the best of his knowledge and belief and with a very critical and clever mind, has sent me the following letter with very interesting insights into the inner workings of the police apparatus and asked me to publish it — which I love to do:

Dear readers,

Briefly about myself: As a police officer in a major German city, I have years of insight into life “on the street” from my daily work. I therefore do not claim to be in possession of a generally valid truth, but I do think that I can judge one or the other social development well.

I know that the reputation of the police officer, especially among consumers of non-mainstream media, has suffered a lot recently (keyword: “Corona demonstrations” in Berlin at the beginning of August).

To be honest, I can understand this point of view very well in many cases, as these events fit in with everyday experiences among my colleagues.

In this emotionally charged debate, I would nevertheless like to explain and clarify why blanket judgments nay even worsen precarious situations or developments.

What am I getting at? In reader comments under articles that deal critically with police work, I often read statements such as: “All police officers are only agents of an increasingly authoritarian policy.”

These thoughts quickly come to the mind of an outsider. From my daily experience I can say that a majority of the officers act strictly on the politically correct line and with these police officers the above statement can certainly not be completely dismissed.

Nevertheless, it can be stated that a significant number of police officers are breaking out of prefabricated as well as imposed thought and action structures and honestly try to implement questionable political guidelines (keyword “Corona”) with a good sense of proportion and in the interests of the citizens.

Of course I can only report on the experiences in my everyday microcosm, but in the last year and a half I have had the opportunity to gain insights into numerous police departments whose activities take place close to the citizen. I therefore take the liberty of considering these experiences as typical.

Those — I will call them “critical officials” in the following — do not, of course, always ring the bell for their behavior, as this could otherwise become problematic.

To clarify these types of difficulties, a brief digression into the interior of a hierarchically structured agency:

Politicians issue a regulation and high-ranking officials within the police force expect strict enforcement of these regulations, as evidenced by relevant statistics. Specifically, this means a high number of penalties for possible civil violations by the officials “on the street”.

The direct superiors of those civil servants who are in contact with the public are mostly also very careful to report “positive” (i.e. high) numbers of sanctions upwards in order to get praise and recognition for their police work.

Otherwise, it has already happened in the last year and a half that superiors received a reprimand from higher-ranking officials because the number of cases are allegedly far too low.

It must be emphasized that most of the violations of the new regulations are administrative offenses and that the police officers can proceed with these according to the principle of opportunity — i.e. at their own discretion. But there is great pressure from above to strictly enforce these measures.

In addition to this constellation, the personal zeal of many police officers (regardless of their rank) is usually an aggravating factor. In the case of a large number of civil servants, the panic fueled by the media and politics, as well as the corresponding dogmas, have almost completely taken over their own consciousness. One can imagine how such matters are dealt with in everyday police operations…

This work climate, which is not easy for a “critical official”, is further worsened by many citizens: Especially in the heyday of Corona politics, denouncing and teasing was a new popular sport and when contacting the police, many people left no doubt that it was very tough and consistent enforcement of the Corona measures is desired (often paired with derogatory statements about the “antisocial behavior of delinquents”).

So as a police officer and person you have to be very stable and idealistic in order not to let that get you down.

The “critical officials” within the police service, I want to emphasize this, are by no means about the razing of the applicable law. Rather, the focus for them is on the knowledge about objective and proportionate police action that they have learned in police training or studies.

This does not mean inconsistently pursuing administrative offenses and, of course, criminal offenses, but rather applying the correct and appropriate measures according to the situation. And many readers have known for a long time that police action and the implementation of applicable law can also be as smooth as butter: Keyword “drug trafficking at Görlitzer Park”.

A stable character here requires proportionate action, even in complex situations. And there are some police officers who embody these qualities, despite the pressure to conform as described above.

If these police officers are subject to blanket judgments by citizens who ultimately have similar liberal and public welfare-oriented views, this can inevitably lead to severe frustration and disillusionment.

Of course, as a police officer, you should never base your actions on social moods. However, it can be sobering when you, as a police officer who has to act against resistance every day, are also attacked by those people who fundamentally stand up for or fight for the same values of democratic coexistence.

This can quickly lead to a certain bitterness that results in “service according to regulations” and a path of least resistance in everyday work. In fact, it is hardly worthwhile for these police officers to maintain the ongoing internal conflict.

This cannot be in the sense of critically minded citizens: Should the civil servant in question continue to dull while the colleague who is keen to enforce the regulation is confirmed in his negative attitude by these blanket judgments and at the same time continues to receive “food” for his tunnel vision-like trains of thought?

The following comment is an example:

“The police should join a demonstration while on duty, or speak loudly in a prominent place and oppose the measures. But unfortunately they don’t have the a** in their pants and just want to maintain their own financial security. They should also have the courage not to hide behind pseudonyms in articles.”

Unfortunately, the tendency towards populism cannot be denied here. Of course, financial issues play a big role with a large number of civil servants (hands up, anyone for whom this is not an issue).

But still I ask myself the question: what does the skeptical citizen prefer? A police officer who serves the aspects of proportionality and closeness to the citizen, who expresses himself boldly in public and then loses his job, or a police officer who implements the relevant proportionality and closeness to the citizen in his daily work as well as possible and can also have a moderating effect on colleagues without making a big fuss about it?

Just because those police officers do not make their actions public does not mean that a relevant number of them will not be actively involved. If the reader has already had contact with the police, they may have experienced that there is no such thing as “the” police officer, and that there are definitely differences in the way things are handled.

A civil servant who is critical of the measures (especially one with corresponding experience or a certain rank) can become a model through his actions without having to demonstratively enter into a conflict with superiors or politically correct colleagues every day.

It is obvious that this signal effect is of course not possible for all colleagues. Ultimately, it depends on the small moments when police officers get involved in the interests of citizens and social coexistence in our country, and not on those moments when one exhausts oneself in mock fights.

This explicitly does not mean that at appropriate moments you should not express your disagreement loudly when there is a chance of having a positive effect. A counterproductive situation would arise if a critical official who had been deprived of contact with the public was replaced by a policeman who was firmly on the line.

In addition, the signal effects of an allegedly harsh punishment of the public officials within the group of colleagues should not be despised (keyword: “punish one, educate one hundred”). All of this cannot really be in the interests of a citizen who is critical of social development.

I can very well imagine the feeling of powerlessness when you see recordings or pictures that allegedly show unlawful police violence. What I want to clarify with this text, however, is that even with these ugly pictures, only a certain portion of the police officers and their work are illuminated and the quintessence of the recordings cannot be to lapse into black and white patterns.

Do not get me wrong: I view the entire situation in Germany, in almost all areas, like most of the subscribers to this site, very critically.

But it is precisely for this reason that those who want to oppose the atomization of cohesion in Germany should try to set a good example every day and embody those values that are indispensable for free and social coexistence in Germany as far as possible.

The adoption of the split behavior that is widespread in this country would ultimately only be in the interests of those people who have the long-term weakening of Germany on their agenda.

In the near future — I assume — we will see the beginning of an even more fatal federal government for Germany. The result will be that the cracks within the population will continue to grow and more and more social groups will position themselves against each other.

So let’s stick together instead of annihilating each other!

7 thoughts on “A German Policeman’s Lot is Not an Easy One

  1. They all support the big Powers and beat up and harass patriots and people who do not follow the official narrativ and have legitimate questions.

    They made their beds. Now let them sleep in them.

    No hard feelings, right? (Thats what you said when you use your truncheon on the abovementioned people. Just doing your job, right? You were just following orders, right?)

    • The 3rd letter from the policeman talked in circles. He seems to never get to the point! Why not be plain-spoken like President Trump always was, where readers could understand you?

      And not go round and round trying to not antagonize his superiors (as they don’t know his name, anyway!).

  2. It is a simple choice, really. Either one wears the Darth Wader suit of the police to bang on the public’s head or not. One cannot enforce the government’s freedom restricting authoritarian rules and claim “I was told” anymore than the nazis did. Those german soldiers faced summery execution when they refused and they should’ve. Are these modern day storm troopers any better? I think not.

  3. Upon viewing the headine I took ‘trash’ to mean…er…a pejorative for disreputable individuals. Further reading showed me my error but upon finishing the article I’m thinking I was correct all along.

  4. There ain’t no “together” sparky! There is us and there is them(3rd worlders and commie leftist) that is it and there can only be one. So war it is for you who refused to fight when you had the chance, now reap what you have sown. Any normal nation would have shot these 3rd worlders the minute they tried to enter our western shores, now we will have to fight them in our own countries.

  5. Its very simple, if the police had any ethics or morals they would simply all not turn up to work.

    I don’t want to read about morons like this [epithet] who complain while taking the 30 pieces of silver to betray their own people.

    He is at the least culpable, at the least. They all are.

    The two professions that have destroyed their reputations – police and doctors. Wouldn’t [micturate] on either of them. Their opinions worthless unless proven otherwise.

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