German minister rules out studies into police racism

German minister rules out studies into police racism
German minister rules out studies into police racism

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out inquiries that focus on police racism, less than a week after 29 officers were suspended from one force for links to far-right chat groups.

Mr Seehofer insisted, in a newspaper interview on Sunday, that there will not be a study into the police alone, saying it was a societal problem.

"There won't be a study that deals exclusively with the police and the accusation of structural racism in the police," he said.

"That wouldn't even begin to do justice to the problem. What is needed is a significantly wider approach for the whole of society, and that's what we're working on."

Far-right terrorism was the biggest security policy challenge to Germany, the country’s domestic BfV intelligence agency warned in July.

Police in Germany last week raided the homes and workplaces of 29 officers in North Rhine-Westphalia state over the private chat groups, in which images of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and a refugee in a gas chamber were shared.

The state’s Interior Minister, Herbert Reul, said 126 images shared across five WhatsApp chat groups on private phones between 2013 and 2015 were "the worst” and “obnoxious".

"Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have no place in the North Rhine-Westphalian police force, in our police force," Mr Reul said.

At least 40 cases of far-right extremism among police were being investigated, German media reported in August.

In July, an elite unit of Germany’s Special Commando Forces was formally disbanded after some of its members were found to hold extremist views.

The BfV agency said there were 32,080 right-wing extremists in Germany last year, an increase of nearly 8,000 from 2018.

About 13,000 are believed to be ready to use violence, up 300 from 2018, the report said.

Updated: September 21, 2020 12:15 AM

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