'Hundreds' of police officers in Germany are said to be under investigation for so-called "extremism", an inquiry by local media has found. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)


‘Hundreds’ of German police under investigation for alleged ‘extremism’


“Hundreds” of police officers in Germany are said to be under investigation for alleged “extremism”, according to German media.

As part of an investigation into right-wing political elements in Germany such as the so-called “Reichsbürger movement”, news outlets Stern and RTL submitted a number of inquiries to federal states across the country regarding the possible presence of extremism within their police forces.

Reporting on the responses given by local officials, the publications claimed there were at least 400 officers in Germany suspected of being “right-wing extremists” or of belonging to a “conspiracy ideology”.

They added that the real number was likely higher as four federal states – Berlin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bremen and Thuringia – failed to provide any figures regarding their investigations.

The reports appear to have spooked some politicians, with the Bundestag’s Federal Police Commissioner Uli Grötsch accusing the Right of trying to undermine law enforcement in Germany.

“We live in times in which right-wing extremists are deliberately trying to destabilise the police,” the Social Democrat MP claimed.

“The danger is greater than ever before. For the entire country.”

Herbert Reul, the Interior Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, described such officers as a “great danger to democracy and the rule of law”.

“I don’t want these people in the police,” the Christian Democrat MP said.

Human-rights NGO Amnesty International expressed concern that such officers “are a danger … especially to people of colour”.

The findings come at a time of heightened concern in Germany regarding the rise of the political Right.

Surging support for the AfD party has largely been at the centre of such fears, with polls regularly indicating it is the second-most popular political group in the country, with around 20 per cent support.

Concerns have also been raised over the Reichsbürger movement.

Existing separately from the AfD and lacking a coherent organising principle, Reichsbürgers – or Reich citizens – regard the current German State as illegitimate for a variety of esoteric legal reasons.

Instead, many believe that they remain citizens of the German Empire, also known as the 2nd Reich, a state that has long ceased to materially exist.

For this reason, they frequently avoid engaging in electoral politics, seeing the current Germany as an illegitimate construct.

Authorities in Germany have linked the movement to an alleged coup plot centred around a German businessman of old noble descent.

Prosecutors claim the group had access to hundreds of firearms, although it remains unclear whether it posed any real threat to the current German Government.

The group’s trial is set to begin in May.