Making the police “Green” from the inside – home affairs with a difference!

In the last thirty years since the Green Party was founded, many justice and home affairs experts have thought about what a Green policing policy would be like. However, these thoughts were never really conclusive. The interior ministries were in the hands of conservative and sometimes social democratic parties. These, on the one hand, easily and almost blindly gave in to demands from leading investigators for new measures and new laws, but on the other hand, continued to shorten police budgets and staff levels. Now that it is apparent that this development has lead into an opportunistic impasse, more and more parts of the police have begun to search for new forms of better home affairs policy. The Greens have always supported the idea of community policing as part of civil society, and they are now a serious alternative in domestic politics. They have learned to regard the rule of law as an achievement that must be protected. This includes enforcing the rules in the last instance with an institution that has the monopoly of violence. Here, using the right means and sticking to the principle of proportionality are at the center of our Green policing policy. Furthermore, it has become essential in recent years to address priorities in policing policy. While the traditional home affairs policy of conservatives and social democrats focused on strengthening and expanding investigative powers in the realm of threats that are high on the public agenda such as terrorism, drugs-related crime, and public disorder, we Greens want to refocus on the relevant types of crime and achieve a a real reduction of crime rates. For this purpose we must extend measures for local investigations and police work instead of creating ever more new security agencies and measures on abstract levels.
Last month, on 24 and 25 June 2011, we discussed these foundations of a Green policing policy with around 100 participants from the police, academia, civil society, and politics. The event took place at the University of Hamburg under the title “Alternative Police Congress – Green policing policy in town, country and Europe”. The fundamental questions that we debated intensively were how to decide about domestic security policy, how to control and manage the police and guarantee its close proximity to citizens, and how to get to the right relationship between citizens and the state. The guests agreed that such a congress was arranged at the right time and was absolutely necessary. It was the first time that someone had tried to get into open contact and dialogue with all parts of the police as well as the different associations and police academies. There was also much support for the goal of Green policing policy to prioritise policing based on facts and less on perceived and politicised security problems.
The police director of Schleswig-Holstein, Burkhard Hamm, agreed that the Greens could play an important role in a renewed policing and home affairs policy. Additionally, the former Frankfurt police chief, who had fought quite some battles with the Greens over the enlargement of the airport in the eighties and nineties, was convinced that the Green Party discussing policing and domestic security could bring new and important perspectives. Many well-known professors of police and constitutional law and the social sciences confirmed the main Green criticisms of current police structures and highlighted potential options to change them from the inside and the outside, together with other societal groups.
As a result, participants agreed that the congress was a success and a good start for the Green Party to actively and effectively ring about change and improvment in the current organization and regulation of policing policy. We will be sure to use it to good effect.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP, is a member of the European Parliament for the Greens, where he works in the home affairs and justice committees to formulate improved policies and legislation for police and justice in the European Union.
The police director of Schleswig Holstein, Burkhard Hamm, agreed that the Greens could play an important role in a renewed policing and home affairs policy. Additionally, the former Frankfurt police chief, who had fought quite some battles with the Greens over the enlargement of the airport in the eighties and nineties, was convinced that the Green Party discussing policing and domestic security could bring new and important perspectives. Many well-known professors of police and constitutional law and the social sciences confirmed the main Green criticisms of current police structures and highlighted potential options to change them from the inside and the outside, together with other societal groups.
As a result, participants agreed that the congress was a success and a good start for the Green Party to actively and effectively ring about change and improvment in the current organization and regulation of policing policy. We will be sure to use it to good effect.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP, is a member of the European Parliament for the Greens, where he works in the home affairs and justice committees to formulate improved policies and legislation for police and justice in the European Union.

In the last thirty years since the Green Party was founded, many justice and home affairs experts have thought about what a Green policing policy would be like. However, these thoughts were never really conclusive. The interior ministries were in the hands of conservative and sometimes social democratic parties. These, on the one hand, easily and almost blindly gave in to demands from leading investigators for new measures and new laws, but on the other hand, continued to shorten police budgets and staff levels. Now that it is apparent that this development has lead into an opportunistic impasse, more and more parts of the police have begun to search for new forms of better home affairs policy. The Greens have always supported the idea of community policing as part of civil society, and they are now a serious alternative in domestic politics. They have learned to regard the rule of law as an achievement that must be protected. This includes enforcing the rules in the last instance with an institution that has the monopoly of violence. Here, using the right means and sticking to the principle of proportionality are at the center of our Green policing policy. Furthermore, it has become essential in recent years to address priorities in policing policy. While the traditional home affairs policy of conservatives and social democrats focused on strengthening and expanding investigative powers in the realm of threats that are high on the public agenda such as terrorism, drugs-related crime, and public disorder, we Greens want to refocus on the relevant types of crime and achieve a a real reduction of crime rates. For this purpose we must extend measures for local investigations and police work instead of creating ever more new security agencies and measures on abstract levels.

Last month, on 24 and 25 June 2011, we discussed these foundations of a Green policing policy with around 100 participants from the police, academia, civil society, and politics. The event took place at the University of Hamburg under the title “Alternative Police Congress – Green policing policy in town, country and Europe”. The fundamental questions that we debated intensively were how to decide about domestic security policy, how to control and manage the police and guarantee its close proximity to citizens, and how to get to the right relationship between citizens and the state. The guests agreed that such a congress was arranged at the right time and was absolutely necessary. It was the first time that someone had tried to get into open contact and dialogue with all parts of the police as well as the different associations and police academies. There was also much support for the goal of Green policing policy to prioritise policing based on facts and less on perceived and politicised security problems.

The police director of Schleswig-Holstein, Burkhard Hamm, agreed that the Greens could play an important role in a renewed policing and home affairs policy. Additionally, the former Frankfurt police chief, who had fought quite some battles with the Greens over the enlargement of the airport in the eighties and nineties, was convinced that the Green Party discussing policing and domestic security could bring new and important perspectives. Many well-known professors of police and constitutional law and the social sciences confirmed the main Green criticisms of current police structures and highlighted potential options to change them from the inside and the outside, together with other societal groups.

As a result, participants agreed that the congress was a success and a good start for the Green Party to actively and effectively ring about change and improvment in the current organization and regulation of policing policy. We will be sure to use it to good effect.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP, is a member of the European Parliament for the Greens, where he works in the home affairs and justice committees to formulate improved policies and legislation for police and justice in the European Union.

The police director of Schleswig Holstein, Burkhard Hamm, agreed that the Greens could play an important role in a renewed policing and home affairs policy. Additionally, the former Frankfurt police chief, who had fought quite some battles with the Greens over the enlargement of the airport in the eighties and nineties, was convinced that the Green Party discussing policing and domestic security could bring new and important perspectives. Many well-known professors of police and constitutional law and the social sciences confirmed the main Green criticisms of current police structures and highlighted potential options to change them from the inside and the outside, together with other societal groups.

As a result, participants agreed that the congress was a success and a good start for the Green Party to actively and effectively ring about change and improvment in the current organization and regulation of policing policy. We will be sure to use it to good effect.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP, is a member of the European Parliament for the Greens, where he works in the home affairs and justice committees to formulate improved policies and legislation for police and justice in the European Union.