Enlarge image

Federal police officer at the border with Switzerland (symbolic image)

Photo: Philipp von Ditfurth / dpa

In Germany there will be an independent commissioner for police affairs in the future.

The majority of the Bundestag voted in favor of a bill that provides for the establishment of a body to which possible misconduct and structural grievances within police authorities can be reported.

Now the Federal Council still has to agree.

The new office is located outside the federal government's official structures and is intended to serve as a contact point for complaints for both police employees and citizens.

The Greens had been pushing for this step for years.

According to the decision, the police commissioner acts “in addition to the existing internal administrative investigations” and possible disciplinary or labor law options.

This would expand the options for action of those affected, strengthen the population's trust in the police institution and also give the employees themselves an opportunity to protect themselves from potentially unjustified accusations, according to the traffic light factions' draft law.

Ampel emphasizes the “special responsibility and role model function” of the police

The police have “a special responsibility and role model function in many respects,” it continues.

“Unlawful measures and structural undesirable developments” within the police, such as extremist attitudes among police officers, are therefore particularly serious.

The police commissioner should be responsible for the police authorities subordinate to the federal government, i.e. the Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the police at the German Bundestag.

Otherwise, the federal states are responsible for the police, which is why there are already seven state police commissioners across Germany, including in Baden-Württemberg, Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein.

The Union and the AfD rejected the project.

CDU MP Hendrik Hoppenstedt complained about the creation of “unnecessary double structures”.

There are already numerous contacts such as complaints offices, staff councils or internal audit.

Irene Mihalic from the Greens rejected the criticism: The possibility of making entries independently of existing structures ensures more permeability in the police hierarchies.

SPD politician could take office

The Bundestag will decide on filling the position at a later date.

The Bavarian SPD MP Uli Grötsch is being interviewed for the office.

Before being elected as a member of parliament, Grötsch worked as a police officer.

The term of office is for five years, with one re-election permitted.