Hey everyone!

I've been a redditor for about 6 months and I have seen a couple of cop AMA's by American cops, but none by German cops.

I thought German redditors might be interested in this and people from other countries might find it interesting to get a look at how other police agencies work.

I will advertise this AMA on other subreddits.

Some facts about the German police:

Each state (there are 16) in Germany has its own police force ("Landespolizei") and then there is the federal police ("Bundespolizei") and the customs police ("Zoll")

I work in Frankfurt am Main (state of Hessen), which has been called Germanys "capital of crime" as it has the highest crime rate of all cities in Germany. This is kind of distorted for various reasons that I am not going to get into now, but it is a still a very high crime city (not compared to major cities in the US tho, I guess).

In Hessen, you have to study 3 years in a mixture of practical training and university education to become a cop. You need the highest or second highest education available in Germany to apply. Classes include of course lots of law, ethics, politics, psychology, sociology and others.

After the three years and two exams that you have to pass, you can apply to a police station or join the Riot Police ("Bereitschaftspolizei"). Riot Police used to be mandatory and still was when I finished, I spent half a year there (during this time I was at the Castor and Occupy demontrations and lots of football games that turned violent a few times).

More if you care:


Some things about me:

In my mid-late-twenties. Was in the army for the mandatory service of 9 months before the police. I have been out of training for about 1 year, so obviously still a rookie, but I feel like I can share a few things you might be interested in. I am anti-prohibition, in fact I am for the legalisation of ALL drugs. I am a donating member of Greenpeace. At the same time, I am rather conservative (for German standards). I am pro-gun and would like to see harsher immigration laws, higher prison sentences and a zero tolerance policy to repeated offenders.

I work in the area around the main train station, where there is an open drug scene. Frankfurt has four drug consumtion rooms, where addicts can LEGALLY own and consume any sort of drug that they like. Of course, this causes a HUGE drug scene. The drug rooms are constantly overfilled, so the addicts will sit on the street and simply consume there. It is normal to see people sitting on the street injecting heroin. Even when I see them taking their drugs, I usually let them finish injecting and very rarely take it away from them (usually only when they are being rude/disrespectful to me).

About the drug laws in Germany:

It varies from state to state, but generally they are pretty lax compared to the US. Frankfurt am Main probably has some of the laxest prosecutors in all of Germany when it comes to drugs. If you are caught with a few grams of heroin, the prosecution will not prosecute you for it, you will never even go to court. You can be caught with 50 grams of Marihuana and not be arrested and most likely only pay a few hundred € fine.

Anyway, enough talk, ask me almost anything.


Thank you for all the questions and for keeping it friendly, after more than 8 hours of answering questions I am going to call it a night.

Comments: 1237 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

krautcop448 karma

I have submitted proof to the mods and am awaiting confirmation.

Mijolnir142 karma

I'm from the UK, but have worked in and visited your area of Germany. I am always struck by how civilised it is compared to the UK. One of your colleagues pulled me over on the autobahn, and I was highly impressed by his manners, decorum and attitude. He realized that the infraction was due to my lack of knowledge and was willing to escort me to where I needed to go.

I worked at the main Police station in Karlshrue, and again, was impressed by how professional they are.

In Light of this, what is your opinion of other countries police forces, particularly the US?

krautcop263 karma

Thank you!

I can't really judge the US cops, as I have never been to the US, all my experience with them comes from the internet.

I think the problem in the US is that the standards for hiring are too low and the training is too short.

It is simply not smart to give people that much power and responsibility after a few months of training.

But in general I think the US cops are doing a great job in a VERY dangerous enviroment, but they are bound by a few laws that are simply stupid and useless (war on drugs, open container law and many more) and the fact that they are simple employees who can be fired at any time and as such are very susceptible to being pressured into ticket quotas, etc. which simply are non-existant in Germany.

fimcotw71 karma


krautcop26 karma

I am familiar with it.

karadan100103 karma

I've heard plenty of good things about the German police (my housemate is German). By any standards, they seem to be up there with the most restrained and intelligent police forces in the world.

Germany is a pretty fucking awesome country anyway.

Just thought you'd like to hear that from a Brit :)

krautcop96 karma

Thank you very much, very nice to hear that. I had a fun encounter with a drunk brit the other day, congratulated him on making the quarter finals and said I hoped we'd meet them and maybe have a penalty shootout. ;)

whatever99785 karma

i just moved to FFM from america to get away from the heroin scene there. i've been an IV user for a while now, and i thought that moving away from home would be a good way to get clean. lo and behold, i stumbled into the "Hauptstadt des Drogenverbrechens" but am still trying to stay clean as best i can.

i went to the Drogennotdienst (located at Elbestraße 38, 60329 FFM for anyone else in a similar situation) today and spoke to the people there about a methadone or subutex substitution program. since i'm not german, i am not fully insured. since i'm a heroin addict, i have no money. is there any way for me to get cheap/free help staying sober without being a german citizen? i speak german and have a job, but i can't go through the provided Krankenversicherung because it specifically does not cover drug treatment programs. i'd also be afraid of getting drug tested and fired (i work for a very large and well-known german company).

it seems so easy to score in the Bahnhofsviertel once you know where to go -- and as a semi-recovering addict, it's hard for me to control my impulses to do so. any advice would be appreciated. and if all else fails, it's nice to know that i might not be prosecuted with a small amount of heroin if i relapse and use the Konsumraum in a safe way.

Vielen Dank, tolles AMA! Ich hab's auf Englisch geschrieben, um andere englischsprachige Drogenabhängige in Frankfurt zu helfen. Es gibt wenige Information online für Drogenabhängige in Deutschland auf Englisch!

krautcop101 karma

Good on you trying to stay clean!

For a second there I actually thought I had arrested you once, arrested a US-born man who tried to recover from his addiction with some heroin.

But he was a German citizien (even tho he didn't speak German) so I guess that wasn't you.

I can't begin to imagine how hard it is to stay clean in Frankfurt. My best advice is probably to move to another city if you can, the Bahnhofsgebiet is like a black hole that sucks you in and breaks you. I have seen this so many times, I am sick of it.

The Drogenhilfe in the Bahnhofsgebiet is probably your best bet. I'm not sure why you don't have a Krankenversicherung, I see tons of hardcore addicts with an AOK card for example.

Keep clean, stay safe and good luck!

[deleted]61 karma


krautcop87 karma

The whole area around the Bahnhof has been proclaimed "verrufener Ort" (notorious area) by the Ministry of Interior. As such, the police can stop anyone and ask for their ID. If you have ever been prosecuted, they have the right to search you, same if you don't have your ID on you or you behave aggressive.

StoneCall48 karma

Actually, if you're referring to what I think you're referring to with "verrufener Ort", no cause is needed for the search (§ 36 Abs. 2 Nr. 2/§ 18 Abs. 2 Nr. 1 HSOG).

Do you believe searches without cause (except for being at a specific place) should be performed in a Rechtsstaat?

krautcop49 karma

Yeah thanks, I feel stupid now. No cause needed of course, you are right!

No, I don't think they should be (except for specific places, like you said).

Suepahfly52 karma

Is there something about a VW Golf VR6 that sets German cops off?

I live in The Netherlands close to the border and when ever I felt like going to the Autobahn and just floor the car for a while (hey its a fast car ;) ) there always was a Germnl police car either following me for a really long time or actually pulling me over for a car inspection (you guys are thorough with those inspections).

krautcop135 karma

Its a popular car amongst young people and young people do like to smuggle drugs from Holland into Germany. ;)

H-Resin45 karma

I just want to say thank you for being the most polite, understanding cops I have ever encountered in the world. I have spent my whole life between the US and Germany, and the difference in police presence and attitude is just absolutely remarkable. I wish all cops could be like German cops. Not once have I been bothered by cops for smoking a joint and sippin on some whiskey in downtown Berlin, and the only time I ever was apprehended was "hey, it's dark outside. you need a light on your bike". You guys are great. Which leads me to question - do you think it's a matter of "Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung" that Germany strays so far as possible from a police state? I thought the difference between Germany and Holland was very odd, even a bit counter-intuitive; they are pretty fucking Stasi-like over there.

krautcop36 karma

Thank you very much!

It might have to do with that, Germany being a federalist state is because of Nazi Germany. Before '33, Germany had always had a state police system, with each police being independent from each other and not having to answer to the federal government.

They reimplanted that after '45 to make sure the police would never be abused by the federal government again. Same idea as in the US really, only less fractured.

why_am_I_on_reddit44 karma

Are youths with a minority background disproportionately represented amongst the suspects/criminals (not sure how to express myself)?

krautcop67 karma

The suspects I mostly deal with are heavy drug users, addicts. They come from almost all age groups, tho rarely very young people, most are 30 and up, tho I have met 80 year old heroin addicts who have been taking heroin for more than 40 years.

But aside from drug users, the majority of suspects of assault/robbery/breaking and entering/etc are youths, yes.

Cornflakes_Guy44 karma

I understand why you would be for the legalization of Cannabis but would you really be for legalization of Heroine, Cocaine and Crystal Meth? Especially since you must witness yourself the damage they do? Basically just asking if you could explain why you are for the legalization of all drugs.

krautcop204 karma

There is simply no point in prosecuting the users. You would have to get the big dealers and those are very smart people and very, very hard to catch.

By legalizing all drugs, you would put all these fucking assholes that make money of other peoples suffering out of a job with the stroke of a pen.

Then you could have out higher quality drugs with less dangerous "extenders"(not sure of the english word, the stuff they put in drugs to make it look like its more than it is). Dealers have been known to put rat poison in cocaine, simply because it is white and looks like coke.

If the state had a monopoly on selling drugs, it would have a much bigger chance to get people to quit doing drugs entirely as it could steer them towards help programs and such.

With the way the laws are know, those who suffer the most are the addicts.

A heroin addict NEEDS his fix. If the police takes away his heroin, he will simply walk around the next corner and rob someone/break into a car to get money to buy a new fix.

Kozbot43 karma

How common is knife/gun crime?

krautcop91 karma

Knife: Very

Gun: Very rare compared to the US but it happens.

Heofmanyfaces39 karma

Are you expecting riots if Germany wins EURO 2012? Is there specialized training for mass civil unrest?

krautcop82 karma

Not mass riots, most people will be happy obviously.

There will be smaller, local "riots", which will simply consist of large groups of drunken hooligans throwing bottles at the police.

We have very good riot training in my opinion and the German riot police is probably one of the best trained in the world, but there is no training for mass unrest.

cpt_lulz16 karma

there is no training for mass unrest.

Really? I would imagine that there are plans for the state of emergency. Containing looters and riots, securing valuable targets and the such... because France (2005), England ( 2010 2011) and Greece (2008) have experienced uprisings which took days to get under control.

Imagine a power blackout in Berlin for a week - I'd take my guess and say that there will be unrest.

edit: London = last year

krautcop65 karma

Yes, really. There is the usual training, but nothing for SHTF scenarios.

afrothunder49 karma

I'm just gonna guess that means "Shit hits the fan" scenarios?

krautcop60 karma


escalat0r31 karma

Fellow kraut here.

No question, just wanted to tell you that you do your AMA very well as you answered pretty much every question. Sher sauber und ordentlich! :D

I'd love to see those types of AMAs more often not a famous person answering only the questions he/she likes.

krautcop42 karma

I can tell you I'm sweating here, it's getting really stressful as the questions branch out into sub-replies. AND THAT DAMN READ LETTER WON'T GO AWAY!

Vielen Dank ;)

YourPizzaIsDone11 karma

Herzlichen Dank auch von mir.

Unrelated, pedantic comment: your constant use of "tho" weirds me out a little; you don't write "ur" and "cuz", so it's a bit of a sore thumb in otherwise flawless English. Props for that, by the way; I know very few Germans that have your command of the language without having lived abroad for a couple years at least!

krautcop21 karma

Until just now I thought "tho" was an actual word in the english language. Not anymore.

tmc_throwaway30 karma

How big is the Neo-Nazi problem, from your experience on the ground?

krautcop144 karma

Honestly, if I didn't know how it is in other parts of Germany, I'd say it's almost non-existant.

There are so many immigrants in Frankfurt, neo-nazis wearing neo-nazi brands would simply get their asses kicked.

Every now and they stage protests, announcing 500-1000 neo-nazis and showing up with 50-100, with thousands, if not tens of thousands of protestors protesting them.

They are a pretty pathetic bunch.

obitechnobi48 karma

Try to come to eastern Germany hinterland. I grew up in a fairly rural area in Sachsen-Anhalt and I can tell you that Neo-Nazis are VERY present.

krautcop76 karma

Honestly, if I didn't know how it is in other parts of Germany

is what I wrote. ;) I know its bad over there.

Heiminator29 karma

I don't have any particular questions, just wanted to mention that due to me being a former frankfurt ultra who has worked at the "druckraum" near the hauptbahnhof we have probably met one way or another :-)

krautcop45 karma

We probably have. As long as you're not that fat idiot working at Moselstraße, we probably got along fine too. ;)

justplainjon29 karma

Thanks for doing this, it is very informative. Your English is absolutely flawless. I was in Stuttgart 88 - 91 with US Army and spent many hours waiting around Rhein-Main, either coming or going. The level of education and commitment you've expressed astounds me. I believe you are spot on in critiquing US Law Enforcement, as there are little or no standards. In fact, I've often heard that higher intelligence is a liability when applying to a police force, as they don't want thinkers, they want soldiers. When I was in Stuttgart, brass always warned us to not mix it up with the Polizei, as they had a shoot-first-ask-questions-later reputation (at least, back in the late 80's anyway). Was there any truth to that in your opinion?

krautcop29 karma

Thank you!

I've read about the higher IQ levels being undesired as well, that's pretty scary.

When I was in Stuttgart, brass always warned us to not mix it up with the Polizei, as they had a shoot-first-ask-questions-later reputation

I think the brass just wanted to scare you, to be honest.

Check here: http://gawker.com/5909283/german-police-really-dont-like-shooting-at-people-used-only-85-bullets-last-year

That being said, I wouldn't try to mess with the German police too much, our patience does run out at some point and if you so much as shove (god beware punch) an officer, you WILL get your ass kicked.

This happened in Frankfurt in my area during the World Cup 2006: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EF0656iv9U (mind you, the cop didn't just randomly shove the Hells Angels guy, he had told him to leave about 5 times before)

kingoober28 karma

Thank you! I wish more people were like you. I have argued this thesis to many people and everyone thinks I'm crazy (I live in 'murica). When it comes down to it, the war on drugs is a trumped up moral issue. I would love to live in a world were there is no such thing as addiction, but that's now a feasible reality. Addicts are still going to be addicts just like teens are still going to have sex. The only thing we can do is to promote awareness rather than restraint. Take a minute to imagine a world were drugs are legal:

There would be no gang violence because drugs would be regulated instead of being controlled by cartels. You take away the cartels' power when you take away their exclusivity over a product.

Overdose (at least in heroin) is mostly caused by the product being cut with toxic substances in order to gain yield a greater profit. No longer would this occur because the drug would be a pure dosage.

By the time a drug reaches "the streets," the price has increased tenfold due to the expensive process of running a drug from it's country of source thru many other middle country to the country of its destination. Every time it crosses a border, the price of a drug is increased. In a world where drugs are regulated, drugs are deflate in price, in correlation, addicts Are able to afford their habit. They don't have to steal or prostitute themselves for their next hit. There can be such a thing as a functioning addict. Addiction comes in many forms; we just don't realize it for the most part because our habit isn't prohibited.

You reduce the spread of disease!

People are also less likely to try drugs because you reduce the allure of "the forbidden fruit."

You reduce government spending on cops, judges, courts, prisons, probation officers, etc. on a failed war. These addicts are repeat offenders no amount of prohibition is going to stop them from getting their hit.

There is such a thing as coexisiting in a peaceful world with drugs, please don't let your morals overrule your logic.

Edit: several words typing on a phone sucks

krautcop12 karma

You said it better than I could have, thank you!

DyslexiaUntied26 karma

As a Frankfurt native and big local patriot, I have some specific questions:

How has the influence of the Hells Angels developed in the last few years? They basically used to very openly run the entire Bahnhofsviertel scene while now apparently (whether it's related to the recent political attention or not) their influence is severely decreasing. What is your experience with this? Do you think something like the SEK officers getting the shit kicked out of them a couple of years ago could happen again?

Secondly, you mention you worked at football games. As an active Eintracht supporter, I'd quite like to hear your opinion about the growing attention to the so-called 'Fanproblem'? I admit the question may seem loaded and there is no denying a recent surge in use of pyrotechnics etc, but what is your opinion on the entire political debate surrounding it?

krautcop60 karma

The Angels are present as ever, they simply don't wear their vests/jackets anymore.

They still own most of the brothels, nightclubs and bars in the Bahnhofsgebiet and participate in the drug business. The Bulgarians have been trying to push their way into the prostitution business and I fear the situation might escalate at some point.

About the SEK, do you mean the incident where they were trying to get into a nightclub drunk and got into a fight with the bouncers?

I was at the Frankfurt - Kaiserslautern DFB Pokal game in late November (see this very badly done news report, my unit is actually visible in it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3X2LpJL3zY) and that was some insane shit.

Around ~300 extremely violent "fans" throwing bottles, stones and modified fire works at us. My unit had 5 injured out of 25. One officer of the Bundespolizei had a stone the size of a handball thrown into his neck from above, was unconcious immediatly and had to be flown out by helicopter (that stone is shown in the video).

The people doing this are simply criminals.

As you said, your question is very loaded and I simply don't have a solution or a qualified opinion about the whole problem. Ultras are good for the athmosphere, but too prone to violence.

Honestly, I can't really answer your question as I just don't have a qualified answer.

OrganicCat23 karma

I live in a very small town in Baden-W, but even so, I've never seen so many kids walking around and the "safe" feeling that each area in Germany has.

In the US, if I'm getting stared at, it's because someone is thinking about committing a crime against me, here in Germany, it's because someone is curious.

The police always feel like good servants here, as opposed to the US where it feels like a 50/50 shot of getting someone who is just going to punish you because they're having a bad day.

Overall, great job!

I personally wished immigration from the US was a little easier. As a skilled worker, it still takes 8 years of living here before you can get citizenship.

krautcop13 karma

Thank you!

And I agree about immigration for skilled workers, it definitely should be easier!

StoneCall16 karma

What do you think of the banning of the Blockupy protests by the courts? Do you think they were justified?

You say you'd like to have longer prison sentences and a zero-tolerance policy for repeated offenders, what do you mean by that? Do you want the StGB to be changed, or do you just think judges should hand out stricter sentences?

krautcop58 karma

Yes, the bans were rightful in my opinion. Violent protests have only been prevented by actual good police work and those bans.

The night before the big protest on Saturday, the police found around 30 hidden stashes of stones, fire works, etc all along the protest route.

Many members of the black bloc were stopped even before they reached the city and many had body armour, pepper spray, fire works, batons and the like on them.

The police is usually in a lose-lose situation during the such events.

If we are lax and it turns violent, we are the bad guys for not preventing it.

If we are strict and nothing happens, we are the bad guys because we are killing democracy.

fourletterword16 karma

Since you've been in the Bereitschaftspolizei, I'd be interested to hear what you know about agents provocateurs (plainclothes police offers instilling violence at public protests).

Now, before you call me crazy, here's proof that this has happened both in the US and Canada. Since Germany is comparable to these countries I don't think it's far fetched to assume the same thing is happening in Germany. Having been to some protests myself back when the Afghanistan and Iraq war started, I'm pretty much convinced this happens here as well.

krautcop51 karma

How could I possibly answer this to your satisfaction? If I say it doesn't happen, you will not believe me, if it did happen, I wouldn't tell you. ;)

No really: I believe it might have happend in the past in Berlin. There is a documentation about a May 1st demonstration 20 something years ago with radio communications by cops which very heavily indicate the use of APs, but the police in Berlin is something else entirely ;)

I have never ever heard of it from anyone tho and I honestly don't believe it has happened anywhere in Germany in the last 20 years.

fourletterword18 karma

How could I possibly answer this to your satisfaction? If I say it doesn't happen, you will not believe me, if it did happen, I wouldn't tell you. ;)

I know, I still had to ask. :)

I'm impressed with how fluent you are in English, definitely above Abitur level. Was that part of your training or is there some other reason for that? Just curious.

krautcop60 karma

No, that wasn't part of the training. Our english classes were VERY basic and my English was better than our teachers. =/

I got almost all of my English from the internet, watching shows and movies in English and reading English books.

I got a D in English back in school!

TampaPowers15 karma

Is the pay really as good as I am always told?

krautcop31 karma

I earn around 2200€ after taxes, but I work alot of overtime, weekends and nights.

From those 2200€ I have to pay my health care, which is around 180€.

rawrr697 karma

but I work alot of overtime, weekends and nights.

included in the pay or extra?

krautcop20 karma

Included. And I get payed monthly.

selfishershellfish4 karma

2200 a week? A month? Biweekly?

krautcop9 karma

A month.

moralnihilist15 karma

"Awwww, Germany has a 'capitol of crime.' That's cute." - America

krautcop59 karma

DancingOdin14 karma

I saw that you said that gun crime is very rare, but it still happens.

What are gun laws like in Germany, or at least in your area? I assume hunting rifles/shotguns are legal, but what about handguns? Do you have open/concealed carry laws or are they just straight out banned?

krautcop38 karma

I'll politely point you to Wikipedia, as this is a very complex topic:


Open carry doesn't exist, concealed carry is almost non-existant. For example, in the city I live in (not Frankfurt) with around 300,000 inhabitants, about 10 people have a concealed carry license, as the restrictions to get one are so insanely harsh.

Cops in my state are allowed to carry their gun off-duty tho.

int_0x8012 karma

I am pro-gun

Does that mean that you think that we (in Germany) would be better off with less restrictive gun laws? If so, why?

krautcop41 karma

A gun equalizes people.

I'm going to take the lazy approach and just copy and paste a text I find fitting:

"The Gun Is Civilization"

by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation... and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

TaiserSoze11 karma

Are police officers forced to meet certain arrest quotas to satisfy the demands of higher-ups? Are officers rewarded for meeting or exceeding such quota demands? Do these practises (if they even exist, officially) spoil good police work and motivate officers to keep catching small-time pot smokers who are usually harmless?

This may not apply to Frankfurt as much as it would to BaWü or Bavaria

krautcop33 karma

No, since we are "Beamte" and it is very hard to fire us, there really is no way to pressure us into meeting quotas.

Aerogingh_4345 karma

Does the difficulty of firing your coworkers ever result in unqualified police keeping their jobs? I'm from the US and this is one of the arguments against having strong unions here.

krautcop10 karma

Yes. But those kind of cops are usually put in some dead end job away from the public.

Mo310 karma

I live in Stuttgart. You state that drug laws in Frankfurt are very lax, do you know anything about Baden-Württemberg and especially Stuttgart? Not that I'd be asking because of any personal interest. :P

Anyway, thank you for your work. And yes, this comes from a recreational drug user.

krautcop22 karma

Well, theoretically, drug laws are dictated by federal law. But how it is interpreted in a city/region, is up to the local courts/prosecutors.

Courts in Frankfurt are very lax, those in Bavaria for example are the exact opposites.

I can't tell you how it is in your specific city, you'll have to try and search the internet for recent verdicts.

I guess BaWü will be more strict than Hessen tho.

Gandzilla7 karma

You pretty much already answered this with your stance on drugs, but one thing that has always annoyed me to no end:

If I'd get cought in bavaria with, let's say 10g, weed, I would loose my drivers licence and have to do a MPU to proofe that I am fit to drive. In my oppinion this is completely retarded. Even possessing drugs does not mean I plan to operate a vehicle while under influence. That's like saying: he bought a bottle of Vodka, he isn't allowed to drive anymore.

Your stance on this?

krautcop29 karma

People should only have to do MPU when they are caught driving under influence of drugs.

[deleted]8 karma

I live in Germany (married to German man) but I am an American citizen. I always carry my passport on me.. is this really required? Could I make a copy of it and carry that around with me instead incase my purse or wallet gets stolen?

krautcop18 karma

Whats your Aufenthaltstitel? Unbefristet?

You do not have to carry your passport with you, but I'd recommend it, as the police can really mess up your day if they want to (go to your home with out, look at your passport, if its too far away take you to the station and check fingerprints or even arrest you for 24 hours if they can't get to the passport.

A copy normally isn't enough, but I can't imagine any cop would not accept it, as we obviously know the risk of the real one being stolen/lost.

[deleted]2 karma

I have a 3-year residency visa in my passport and a separate paper that has my registered address on it.

I would carry a copy of both with me. I just am nervous about my passport being stolen OR it being ruined in some way.

krautcop24 karma

Just carry the copy with you, I can't imagine any cop giving you trouble for it.

Even tho I love checking US IDs, your passport is the coolest looking ever.

[deleted]3 karma

Thanks! I would carry it if I went further away from home but I rarely leave Berlin so I doubt it would be too much of an issue.

I appreciate the quick response!!!

krautcop8 karma

Your are very welcome.

shiftyb8 karma

What do you personally think of other police forces from around the world? Have you seen any of them in action ?

krautcop19 karma

I have not, only via the Internet. They seem to be a lot harsher elsewhere in the world.

drsatan18 karma

Funny, to be a cop in my country you have to a) not be a child molester and b) not be insane

krautcop47 karma

Or a) hide it well and b) hide it well.

BramaLlama8 karma

I have got a question concerning behavior that I recently experienced in dealing with the police.

The event went down as following:

I was late night walking home with a friend of mine who had celebrated his birthday and therefore was carrying a box of beer. I was pushing my bike because I was talking to him.

We sit down in front of a cigarette vending machine because he wants to take a smoke.

Now we get approached by two people looking suspicious, wearing dark clothes, a cap and a hoodie pulled over their heads.

Now I was suspecting them to be asking for trouble. Once they are near us, the smaller person puts a torchlight in my face blinding me while the other person asks whether we have had any encounter with the police in the past and upon our negation, he proceeds to ask for our passports.

Pretty hammered as i was, but staying calm and not doing anything, I abide by his wish and give it to him. He then starts to mutter strange things into his radio, checking our background and doing all sorts of strange things, like we were criminals.

It then dawns upon my drunken mind that I had not seen any verification of their identity so they could basically be thugs trying to mess with us. So I quite boldly ask whether they really are police or are shitting us (literal translation).

Upon that, I expected a passport or something, but was promptly showed his gun and no verification at all (after all any idiot could have a gun) followed by a harsh "Is that enough proof?".

When they had their reports on our persons back in, we were allowed to leave. I then asked what they wanted in the first place and they said they were looking for car thieves.

Now this is another strange part because I was wearing a suit and pushing a bike and my friend carrying beer. So I would say we were not your average car thieves (also I look like an innocent lamb)

Now the question: Is this standard protocol or did they misbehave in any way. Now I don't want to press charges or anything (nothing would come from it, we were drunk, they were 2 etc. and I don't want satisfaction), I just ask out of curiosity.

EDIT: FYI I'm German

krautcop16 karma

A plain clothes police officers has to identify himself by showing you his "Dienstausweis" (ID card) and announcing himself as a cop.

So yes, that was wrong of them.

BramaLlama4 karma

And showing me his gun instead? Is that allowed? Because with his harsh reply it seemed like a thread to intoxicated me.

krautcop15 karma

No, that doesn't count as identifying yourself. As you said, anyone can have a gun.

mogi1127 karma

Hey, first of all great to see someone from Frankfurt doing an AMA!

First question: What do you think about smoking weed in public e.g. the Grüneburgpark? What happens if you are caught smoking (I never got caught so far, but I am interested) Your position on legalizing or tolerating drugs seems pretty liberal, what do your co-workers think about that?

Second question: What do you think should be done - or not done - about the Frankfurter Ultras? I think some local politicians, the police and the DFB are treating them like villains, which is way over the top in my eyes. Not everyone there is a criminal, though I have a couple of friends, who are members of the Ultras, and are now registered at the Police, even though they did not really do anything. How would you handle the situation in german football stadiums?

Thanks and you are doing a great job in the Hauptbahnhof-area, I really think the situation has improved over the last years!

krautcop7 karma

It depends. After all, it is still illegal, so if you are caught, you're going to get fined unless you are lucky and the officer is like me and will simply throw your pot away.

Most of my co-workers are liberal on weed, but many will still prosecute you for it, because it is their job after all and we could get into serious trouble if someone saw us just throwing your weed away or letting you keep it.

Ultras are a complex topic, I wrote a bit about it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/vdpt8/_/c53ldvh?context=1

dahlberg1237 karma

What sort of kit does a police officer in Germany carry? Gun, knife, pepper spray, hand cuffs, etc?

Are you able to select your own duty firearm or is it issued?

Also, it seems that a lot of the German words are very long, is your ticket book really big or do you write really small?

krautcop16 karma

The same as in the US I guess, minus the Taser. Gun, pepper spray, expendable baton, hand cuffs, gloves, flashlight. I also carry a multi-tool and a safety knife.

We are issued firearms. Hessen got new guns in 2010, we are now using the H&K P30v2.

We write small. =/

CommanderSpleen7 karma


krautcop14 karma

It's not as bad as it used to be, but still pretty bad.

The drug scene isn't as localized anymore. Some is at Hauptwache, some at Konstablerwache, some around Allerheiligenstraße, a lot in the Bahnhofsviertel, some in Sossenheim, etc.

It's not as open anymore, except in Bahnhofsviertel. The dealers have become a lot smarter.

ysangkok52 karma

Do you know where I can get the cheapest weed? I need LSD too. EDIT: Safety preferred over price.

krautcop96 karma

Allerheiligenstraße and the surrounding streets.

DoctorKeefe5 karma

Hey Policeman! I live in the more rural area around Frankfurt and realize that out here it's nothing compared to the big city trouble, but I want to thank you for your service anyway. My encounters with the executive force always went well (altough the ones I've avoided maybe wouldn't have) and it's nice to see that cops with web-affinity and anti-prohibition views exist. My question: (1) Do your colleagues think like you, concerning that sensitive matter? (2) What do you think about that trashy police-"documentaries"? Realistic/ too dramatical?

krautcop8 karma


(1) I am the most liberal of any police officer I have met concering drug laws, but I am sure many would vote Yes on the legalization of Cannabis, if only to reduce their paperwork. ;)

(2) They are crap. Much of the stuff isn't realistic. The best documentaries I've seen is "Zwischen Rotlicht und Randale" by Spiegel TV and "Vom Schutzmann zum Hassobjekt", also Spiegel TV. Both are available in the usual channels.

USCgamecocks5 karma

Why is the 18 year old law for buying hard liquor sometimes followed, and sometimes not? I've seen 14 year old buy Jaeger, I buy Snapps a lot at festivals, and sometimes i'll go into a gas station and they'll say "Diese getrank braucht eine Ausweis". I've also been thrown out of a Disco for buying tequila at 17! Ich finde es komisch.

I am an American and i was staying in a tiny town that had never had American visitors before in Thuringia.

krautcop11 karma

You'd have to ask the clerks who sold them that...

bilwis5 karma

I watch COPS now and then and, while the episodes are of course cut to make them more suspenseful, I wonder how much you worry about "coming home in the evening". Do you really feel that your life is on the line every day?

Also, how much of your work is paperwork? From what I experienced with the Bundeswehr so far, they seem hellbent on drowning you in forms. I wonder wheter the police is as bad?

krautcop32 karma

No, I don't feel endangered all the time. Most people will still have too much respect/fear to attack you.

I was in a situation a few weeks back where we got a report of a fight going on with one guy wielding a knife and the other a broken off bottle.

When we arrived at the scene, a woman told us that "one of them went into that store". Me and my buddy enter and its a small store with a few PCs for internet upstairs. A clearly visible blood trail leads to the back and up a spiral stair case like this http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/9601527.jpg only it was completely enclosed so I couldn't see shit from downstairs.

That stair case must have been the most narrow and steepest fucking staircase in the world. If someone wanted to attack me on it, I wouldn't see him until he was like half a metre away from me.

So I drew my gun and yelled up the stair case for anyone up there to come down slowly with their hands up. Of course, no one came, so we had to go up.

I went ahead, gun drawn and aimed up the stairs, very slowly and with that fucking blood drail in front of me. I've never been that afraid in my life.

Upstairs we found the guy sitting in a corner and we arrested him without resistance. In the end it turned out he never had a knife. -.-

Looking back I wondered what I would have done if someone had come running down the stairs while I was going up. It was so narrow, if it had actually been a guy wielding a knife, I would have been dead if I wouldn't have shot as soon as he came around the corner. But what if would have been an innocent bystander running from the guy with the knife upstairs?

coolsubmission5 karma

What's your opinion towards the excessive use of "platzverweis"(ban for a specific area)? AFAIK most of them(~99%) are used unlawful(rechtswidrig). I understand that it might be a "nice tool" for the police but it seems quite random.

Also, what's your opinion on name-tag or id-numbers for police officers? do you really feel endangered if you show them to the public as the police union always says? Regarding the small number of "planned" personal attacks on police officers it seems just like a lame excuse to me.

do you think it would reduce the number of unnecessary attacks from police officers? or would they just switch their signs as they sometimes already do with their tactic-signs to avoid identification?

krautcop10 karma

Its one of the last decent tools we have left, I love it. Of course it shouldn't be abused.

I don't wear my name tag in every day duty, but I tell my name to anyone who wants to know and has a right to know, I even hand out "business card" with my full name, department and its phone number.

I think assigned numbers for riot police are fine.

I have never heard of number switching and the example you linked doesn't really count. The picture shows a cop from Berlin, BEFORE they got the individual numbering. The numbers in the picture simply show what Hunderschaft (23.), what Zug (3.) and what Gruppe (1 on the uniform / 3 on the helmet) he is from, if I remember this correctly (it differs in each state).

He probably used to be in Gruppe 3 but got switched to Gruppe 1 and didn't get to change his helmet number yet.

cymbalrush4 karma

Are there traffic cops in Germany whose sole job is to write tickets?

I never remember seeing any and thought the German system of educating drivers better and then not needing so much oversight was much better than the US system that seems to hand out licenses to anyone that can reach the pedals, but punishes them severely for any small mistake.

krautcop22 karma

There are traffic "officers", but those are employed by the city and not the state and they are NOT police officers.

It is also our job to police traffic, but many cops don't like it and usually only do it when they have nothing else to do, the driver screwed up really bad or they are being rude/disrespectful.

In general, I am very proud of the German driving public, except for some people who think that they own the roads.

Amorphium4 karma

Thanks for doing this ama!

I recently was at an event where the mayor of hamburg talked to the public and he had "personenschutz" (bodyguards, but from the state police i think). One of the officers was a really hot woman, which got me thinking, because she had brown hair and usually all the female officers i see have blonde hair.

Is there an overrepresentation of blondes in our police force and why are there so many hot women ?

Additonally, i have personally only had good experiences with the police, they were always nice and calm, but then i'm not a criminal. I've seen some people get arrested though and some officers were a little overzealous. It was nothing serious, but rather rude and short-tempered and it seemed to me that the officer let off some steam on the guys. I realize the pressure and stress you are under, but what i found a little sad was that none of the other officers who were calm took him to the side and told the angry officer to cool down a bit.

Was that because you dont question each other's authority in front of the public, or do they just forget about what happened?

Also, i read that in 2010 we had only 814 murders in germany. how far do you estimate the "dunkelziffer"? (the non-official number)

Do you prefer the green or the blue uniform? i think the blue one looks far better and modern but i have heard that not everyone likes it.

How pimped are police cars? i heard they have better turn radius etc, but is the engine pimped as well? i imagine we dont need to do that much pimping because we use bmw or audi cars, instead of crappy fords in america, but some engine power probably never hurts.

Thank you for your time!

krautcop15 karma

Is there an overrepresentation of blondes in our police force and why are there so many hot women ?

I have noticed the overrepresentation of blonde women as well and I have no explanation for it! As for the hot women, I guess mostly women who enjoy sports and are healthy join the police.

Was that because you dont question each other's authority in front of the public, or do they just forget about what happened?

We try to never question each other in front of the public, but I have pulled aside co-workers who got too worked up and I have been pulled aside. We all have bad days and when the 10th guy is being disrespectful and insulting to you, you might lose it. Thats why you need your fellow officers to help you stay calm sometimes.

how far do you estimate the "dunkelziffer"? (the non-official number)

Dunkelziffer is extremely low on murders, almost all are found out about, I think.

Do you prefer the green or the blue uniform? i think the blue one looks far better and modern but i have heard that not everyone likes it.

Blue all the way!

How pimped are police cars?

They are not and they suck. I would much rather have US police cars. They are actually custom built to suit police needs and they drive friggin Dodge Chargers for gods sake!

rand0mguy14 karma

Whats the fastest u ever seen someone go on the autobahn? Also are you allowed to race on it?

krautcop13 karma

I've gone 260 km/h myself, I've seen people go over 300 km/h. No, you obviously aren't.

rawrr694 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA! Cross-post a link to r/germany, r/frankfurt!

This is kind of distorted for various reasons that I am not going to get into now, but it is a still a very high crime city (not compared to major cities in the US tho, I guess).

  • I felt like it is a very safe town, so I am not sure what this "high rate" is in numbers and what the offenses are... where is Frankfurt actually dangerous and what might happen in those areas? I think those statistics are "skewed" by e.g. pickpockets on the airport, right? Frankfurt feels more like a village grown out of proportion a little than a huge financial capital, somehow, and the numbers support that.

  • OK, tell me everything you know about the Bahnhofsviertel and how it works, the different "layers" of society/subcultures there! How does the prostitution there work in terms of business, who owns those huge places and who runs them? I was surprised at how "professional" and detached it all seemed to be... I didn't feel unsafe there, actually. If they want customer, they have to provide security, I guess, right? And it cannot be a coincident all those places are within short walking distance from the banking district.

  • Regarding possession of MJ for personal use, is it really THAT lax?? Even for non-German EU citizens or foreigners?

  • Where do you recon do most drugs in Frankfurt come from, what are the biggest channels and parties involved?

  • One last thing: is it really part of your training to look at driver's pupils when stopping them as an indication for possible intoxication and then pointing a frakking maglite in their face to test pupil-reaction times to make sure???

krautcop11 karma

I wouldn't exactly call Frankfurt a town. :D

There are a few dangerous areas, Sossenheim, Höchst, Bahnhofsgebiet, Allerheiligen, etc. You could get beaten up, robbed (very common). The other day, a guy got stabbed in broad daylight on a busy pedestrian area right next to a police station.

Yes, the airport is responsible for a big part of the statistics.

Bahnhofsviertel: Check my answer here: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/vdpt8/i_ama_cop_working_in_germanys_capital_of_crime_i/c53ldvh

Hells Angels own the brothels and provide security. Women who want to work there rent a room for 100-160€ per day, depending on the location of the brothel, location of their room (the closer to the ground floor, the more expensive), size of the room etc. and then work. All the money they make is theirs to keep, except the rent of course.

Other than collecting rent and throwing out troublemakers, the Angels have almost no contact with the women.

Bulgarians are trying to push in with street prostiution, see the link.

MJ possession: Yes, it is that lax, even with forgeigners. We had three American tourists the other night with about 1 gram of MJ each. We took their names and adresses, confiscated the pot and then had to let them go on order of the DA. They said they are leaving this weekend to go back to the US and so they will never ever be prosecuted for this.

Most drugs come from Holland, Eastern Europe and of course Afghanistan and North Africa via Greece and Macedonia.

Well, we are of course trained to check for signs of intoxication, but I bought myself a special small flashlight (like the ones doctors use) that I can actually shine into peoples eyes without blinding them.

sonia_bites2 karma


krautcop15 karma

In Hessen you apply, if they like your application, they invite you for the test.

This test goes on for 1 1/2 days. First day they have you sitting at a PC and they test your math capabilities, logical thinking, memory, knowledge of German and visual thinking. If you this part, next is sports. Running, bench press and others are tested. Next is a group discussion about a problem, where they see how you argue with others, how you react to opposing opinions and if you are able to convince others of your position.

Finally, there is a single interview where experience police officers really grill you about why you want to be a cop, what you have done in the past, if you ever smoked pot, how you reacted to certain problems you had in your life and how you would react in certain situations. Then a short roleplay and you are done.

Next day is physical examination. How are your eyes, your ears, your lungs, etc.

Out of 40 people who started on the first day, 4 made it to day 2 and only one of those passed instantly without having to redo one of the physical exams (wasn't me, I had to redo the endurance test).

We have quite a few ethnic minorities and I wish there were even more. They are invaluable when dealing with the many "citizens" who never bothered to learn the language of the country they are living in (some of them for 20 years).

There is racism of course, this job makes you biased after a while as you certainly know and if you are not careful, this will turn into racism.

Suprisingly, many of the ethnic minority cops I have met are VERY biased towards immigrants, often against those of their own nativity.