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Die Polizei – Dein Freund und Helfer?! (The police – your friend and aid?!)

The words “Die Polizei – Dein Freund und Helfer” (The police – your friend and aid) is the slogan of the police. These words were first used by Albert Grzesinki, the Prussion secretary of the interior, in 1926 as a preface for a police exhibition. This slogan is still used today and seen by the majority of people as contemporary, which I will elaborate more on in the following.

The first thing I associated with “Law Enforcement in Germany” is the police or as Germans would say “Die Polizei“. When I was growing up, the police color was green. Still until today, I always think the police is there if I see a green car or uniform. To be more contemporary with the European standard (especially with France and Italy who did not want to change their colors) Germany gradually switched from green to blue. Germans prefered this thankfully over the British red-orange. There was a time I remember when there was a lot of mixture of both colors- nowadays its rather blue. It cost the police a lot of money and it was a whole new image to get used to.

In Germany there is not just “one” police, but rather many different. Each of the 16 states has its own police with its own rules that are responsible for law enforcement. Their job is it to represent the state in action in everyday situations, such as speeding, and conflict situations, such as as violent demonstrations. They are the only ones who are allowed by law to use physical force.

The German police has fewer police officers in comparison to other countries. There is about one police officer for every 370 residents. Furthermore, the police enjoy an overall high reputation and people’s trust. Where banks and insurances only reach 29 percent in trust, police get the highest score of 81 percent. One reason for this it that Germans value the police because of their incorruptibility.

Another interesting point is that German police officers rarely reach for their guns and are more cautious in using their weapons. In comparison to the US, German police officers are rarely confronted by armed people since weapons are illegal unless e.g. you have a hunter’s licence. The US has almost as many weapons as it has citizens and therefore more shootings and killings from the police and people occur.

As for laws in general, there are a couple of differences to the US. I’ll only mention two- otherwise this article would get quite long and exhausting. A quite obvious one is the consumption of alcohol. In Germany you are allowed to drink beer at the age of 16 and hard liquor at the age of 18. So before you learn to drive a car (driving age with supervision at 17; without supervision 18), you “learn” how to drink. As drunk driving is very dangerous, Germans treat it accordingly and the fines vary, depending on how much is in your blood and what happened. You might lose your driver’s licence, get points (with a certain amount of points you’re not allowed to drive anymore), pay a lot of money and do what we call a “Idiotentest” (idottest), which is a medical and psychological examination. Riding your bike while being drunk, might also cause you to lose your driver’s licence. As alcohol is a big part of many social activities, it is also allowed to be drunk in public. It does not matter where you are: in parks, in trains, outside -you won’t get fined by the police for doing this. Another example is that Germans have special beaches which we call “FKK Strand” where people are allowed to bathe naked. Since we have a lot of saunas, people aren’t uncomfortable being naked there either. You won’t get fined for this and certain people enjoy having this freedom.

All in all, the police are considered rather likable and people trust them to do their job and protect them. As for laws, there are different handlings with law enforcement and laws in itself.

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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2.   By djhender on Feb 24, 2015 | Reply

    That’s just so different to Police in NI, Karo. Crazy! It’d be so cool to go to Germany and see police being respected for once in their life. My mind is blown…. Wow

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