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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72400 Find in a Library
Title: Police in a Free Democracy (From Polizei und strafprozess im demokratischen rechtsstaat, P 102-126, 1978, Erhard Denninger and Klaus Luederssen - See NCJ-72339)
Author(s): E Denninger
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Suhrkamp Verlag
Frankfurt Am Main, Germany United
Sale Source: Suhrkamp Verlag
Lindenstr 29
Postfach 2446
Frankfurt Am Main,
Germany (Unified)
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: The relationship between the traditional police role in Germany and the freedom of expression in to democracy is discussed in this West German paper.
Abstract: It argues that the legal basis of the West German police is constitutionally sound, but that the police are not thoroughly oriented towards the maintenance of democratic procedures, such as minority group demonstrations. The theoretical framework of the present police laws is still firmly rooted in a concept of the police role which was formulated in the earlier constutional monarchy. According to this concept, the most important task of the police is to protect society from all sources of harm: not only must property be protected from thieves, but society itself must be protected from troublemakers, agitators, reformers, and activists of all sorts. The political character that such a police role can assume was demonstrated in the Third Reich when the police were required to arrest persons who dared to enter public offices without offering the official 'Heil Hitler' greeting or who, as members of the Aryan race, dared to bathe together with Jews. In quieter times, such a police role is directed towards the maintenance of the cultural and political status quo. However, a central feature of a free democracy is the orderly conflict of political opinions and interests. A status quo will not exist as long as minority groups are free to attempt to influence the opinions of the majority. As long as the parties which are involved in political conflict do not resort to violence, they are exercising their democratic rights, and it should be the role of the police in a free democracy to protect these rights. Footnotes with references are included. --in German.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Germany; Police attitudes; Police responsibilities; Political influences; Role perception
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