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Germany probes over 400 police due to far-right views

April 4, 2024

Hundreds of German police officers are under investigation over links with right-wing extremist or conspiracist ideology, a media report says.

A police officer in Bavaria
Officials say such extemist ideologies in police ranks pose a danger to democracy and the rule of lawImage: Bjoern Trotzki/IMAGO

There are more than 400 investigations into far-right extremist attitudes or beliefs in conspiracy theories among officers in German state police forces, according to a report published on Thursday.

The real number is expected to be significantly higher, with four of Germany's 16 states not providing current figures, the report by German news magazine Stern said.

How dangerous is the situation?

The German parliament's police commissioner, Uli Grötsch, said the presence of such people represented an enormous threat.

Plotters of a coup to overthrow the German government, by the sprawling Reichsbürger movement, were said to have tried to recruit police officers into their ranks.

"We are living in times in which right-wing extremists are deliberately trying to destabilize the police force," Grötsch was quoted as saying by the magazine.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul told Stern that such individuals were not welcome in the police force.

"Police officers who do not stand on the ground of the constitution, but pursue extremist views, are a great danger to democracy and the rule of law," said Reul.

The states of Berlin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bremen and Thuringia did not provide any up-to-date figures about such investigations.

Germany: Fresh raids on Reichsbürger group

Who are the Reichsbürger?

The Reichsbürger plan to unseat the German government was brought to light in December 2022, when police conducted raids and arrested 25 out of a total of 52 suspected plotters.

The group was said to have planned, among other things, to storm the parliament in Berlin, attack the country's power supply, and depose the federal government so it could take power. There were even plans for certain individuals to take control of important ministerial posts for the moment of the "takeover."

Investigations into possible extremists among federal and state security authorities have been ongoing for years. In 2022, Germany's Interior Ministry published a report that found right-wing extremist activities in 327 cases.

German military's intelligence service (MAD) had the most cases, with 83 employees confirmed to have taken part in "individual extremist activities." The Federal Police had the second-highest instance with 18 members.

The extremist activities included participation in right-wing extremist events and taking part in extremist chat groups, as well as having ties to extremist parties and organizations.

rc/ab (KNA/dpa)

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