Why did the police split up?

What do you need an Office for the Protection of the Constitution for?

The experiences of the Weimar Republic and the subsequent Nazi reign of terror have shown that the continued existence of a democracy with a free society is not a matter of course, but has to be continuously safeguarded against its enemies. This applies not only to violent extremist offenders, but also to those who try to conceal their anti-constitutional intentions and try in non-violent ways to partially or fully exploit achievements such as freedom of the press, freedom of expression and belief, the right to vote and respect for universal human rights to abolish.

This basic idea has not lost its relevance to this day. Extremists from various camps continue to question our open social order and the rule of law. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution therefore observes organizations and associations of individuals that attempt to implement an ideology that is contrary to the constitution.

In Germany, the so-called separation requirement between the police and intelligence services has existed since the time after the Second World War. It serves to prevent abuse of power by an all-powerful "secret police" such as the GESTAPO during the Nazi era or the "Stasi" in the GDR and states that the police and the intelligence services, with regard to their tasks, their organization, their powers and their Data processing should act separately. For this reason, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is also an intelligence service and not a secret service, as it has no executive powers.

In addition to differences in content, these security authorities also have different options for intervention, which define what an authority is allowed to and what it is not allowed to do. The following two examples are intended to show the main differences between the police and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution:

1. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution observes organizations that are not in accordance with our constitution and / or might even want to abolish it. To do this, he may use some of the methods specified in the law, such as observing people or evaluating freely accessible information (newspapers or the Internet). At the end of the day, all findings and information are checked to determine what dangers this could pose to our free, constitutional state. If, in connection with such an observation, it becomes apparent that persons intend to commit such crimes, the police are called in.

2. Assassinations by individual perpetrators have resulted in the Office for the Protection of the Constitution increasingly also dealing with individuals who have indications that they may be planning an attack. As soon as someone then begins to take action that suggests that the person is no longer just thinking about an attack, but starts making preparations, the police will be notified so that they can intervene. In these cases, our goal is to use the knowledge we provide and the “apron investigation” to facilitate the work of the police based on this.

This allegation can demonstrably not be upheld against the State Office in Bremen. For example, our office was a pioneer nationwide when it came to classifying the “Identitarian Movement” or the “Young Alternative” as an object of observation. The bans on right-wing extremist groups in Bremen in recent years also make this clear.

The observation of right-wing extremist activities is a special focus of the LfV Bremen. We work together with the “Special Commission for Right-Wing Extremism” of the Bremen State Criminal Police Office in the “Task Force” against right-wing extremism and group-related misanthropy. In our daily work, we are closely networked with other authorities, but also with non-profit organizations. In order to educate people about right-wing extremism and newly developing phenomena, we do public relations work - for example on the annual report on the protection of the constitution or the "Report on right-wing extremism and xenophobia" (pdf, 4.3 MB). In addition, we offer to provide information personally on site about right-wing extremism in Bremen through lectures.

The terms extremism and radicalism are often equated, but have different effects on our daily work: Efforts are described as extremist if they are directed against the core of our constitution - the free democratic basic order - and try to eliminate parts of it. This is where the protection of the constitution becomes active in accordance with its legal task description.

Radical political views, on the other hand, are not extremist. Although these can contain a criticism of the structure of our social and / or economic order, they are legal in the sense of our pluralistic social order as long as they recognize the core principles of free democracy and act within their framework. For example, criticism of the government can be voiced as long as the basic principles of our constitutional order are recognized. If, however, the elimination of parts of the democratic constitution is called for in order to achieve the goal and the threshold to extremism is crossed, then we as the protection of the constitution will become active.

No, the President of the BfV was and is not our boss. Due to the federal structure of our country, the BfV and the constitutional protection authorities of the federal states are on an equal footing. The observation of regional extremist efforts is the responsibility of the respective LfV. The BfV is not authorized to issue instructions to them, but there is an obligation to cooperate between the offices for the protection of the constitution. In the case of transnational activities, the BfV can also take action - in coordination with the LfV.

The Federal Constitutional Protection Act (BVerfSchG) regulates the tasks to be carried out jointly by the federal and state governments. In addition, there is a separate constitutional protection law for each country, which regulates the tasks and powers. The main legal basis of the protection of the constitution in Bremen is the law on the protection of the constitution in the state of Bremen.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been offering dual studies with the domestic intelligence service in Cologne and Berlin for several years. The Federal Office provides further information on the duration, course content and employment requirements on its website at www.verfassungsschutz.de.

In addition, there is the possibility of direct application to the positions advertised by us at LfV Bremen. A bachelor's degree from a university or another equivalent degree is usually required to work in analysis. Which degree you have to bring with you depends on the position to be filled. We have people with a political, sociological, administrative, historical or Islamic degree, among others. This interdisciplinary variety of professional experiences and perspectives ensures the ongoing quality assurance of our work.

The proportion of women in the entire office is around 50 percent. In recent years, the LfV Bremen has also experienced a significant rejuvenation. Not many authorities can say that about themselves. From the 20 year old young professional to the 65 year old "old hand" everything is represented. We also have diversity to offer when it comes to the question of ethnic origin: a significant proportion of our employees have a migration background.

In this respect, our authority fulfills the claim to represent the cross-section of our pluralistic society. This “colorful overall package” benefits us every day when it comes to evaluating a wide variety of information, viewing issues from different perspectives, benefiting from experience and at the same time breaking new ground in order to face the constantly changing challenges of our work.

The pivotal point is the evaluation and analysis of information. This information is partly collected by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution itself - with open means or with intelligence services - or it is transmitted from other authorities. This information is analyzed and evaluated in the evaluation. Typically, reports are created on this, which are then used to provide information to political leaders or other bodies, especially the police. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution does not need any information that is not required for this. They will be deleted immediately because their storage would be unlawful and on top of that they would only hinder the work and the recognition of the relevant facts.

The monitoring of telephone calls and other digital communication channels is only permitted under very strict legal requirements, for example if there are serious crimes against the free-democratic basic order. Before monitoring can be carried out, the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution must first obtain the consent of the Interior Senator and then obtain approval from the G10 Commission. The G10 Commission is an independent body that is elected by the Bremen citizenship. The legality and necessity of the request for surveillance are examined in a secret meeting. If the request for surveillance is approved, measures according to Article 10 of the G10 Act can be applied.