More than 80 right-wing extremists are now considered dangerous. Close monitoring binds many workers, so a standardized instrument for assessing persons was urgently needed.
Berlin – Police across the country face more and more right-wing threats on screens. In the left-wing extremist scene, too, there is a growing – albeit at a much lower level – the number of people who the security authorities say are capable of serious crimes of a political nature.
In the case of potentially dangerous Islamists, police have identified a further decline this year, which started in 2018. However, with the current 531 threats from Islamists, it remains high, as evidenced by the federal government’s response to a request from its parliamentary group initiated by national AfD politician Martin Hess.
an increase of about 17 percent
Police describe people as dangerous who they believe are capable of serious, politically motivated acts of violence – including terrorist attacks. Länder police authorities are principally responsible for classifying people as dangerous.
As the federal government explains in its response, which is available to the German Press Agency, the police counted a total of 81 right-wing extremists in early June. This is an increase of approximately 17 percent compared to June 2021.
In November 2011, when the NSU (National Socialist Underground) neo-Nazi terrorist group was exposed, only four right-wing extremists were classified as dangerous. It was only after the deaths of Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos that the police realized that neo-Nazis had killed eight Turkish businessmen, owner of a small business with Greek roots, and a policewoman in various federal states in 2000-2007. For years after the attacks, investigations were conducted in the wrong direction.
In June 2019, a right-wing extremist shot and killed the president of the Kassel district, Walter Lübcke, who was in favor of accepting refugees. During that time, the police counted 39 right-wing threats.
In October of the same year, an armed killer unsuccessfully tried to enter the synagogue in Halle on a Jewish holiday. When he failed, he shot a passerby and a man in a kebab shop. In February 2020, a mentally ill racist in Hanau killed nine people from a migrant background, his mother and then himself.
Sometimes more employees
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution and federal and state authorities have responded to these acts of violence, and some departments have been given additional personnel. “Since right-wing terrorist crimes in recent years, police have focused on right-wing networks and internet activities,” says the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Recently, the exchange of information between the various security authorities in the Joint Center for Extremism and Counter-Terrorism has also been “intensified”.
Since May last year, the police have been using a new tool to assess which right-wing perpetrators are at particular risk of committing a serious ideological crime. This helps in deciding which extremists need to be monitored particularly carefully, which binds many workers. Such an instrument previously only existed for Islamist threats.
There has also been a steady increase in the number of leftist extremists classified as dangerous over the past few years, albeit far fewer. While six people still fell into this category in early 2021, by last June, police had already targeted nine left-wing threats. Meanwhile, the number of threats in the area of left-wing politically motivated crime is twelve. With well over 1,000 violent crimes per year committed by those affected, information exchange has increased here too, a BKA spokesman said at the request.
But less Islamist threats
The fact that the police authorities now have fewer Islamist threats to watch over has to do with their military success in fighting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia in Syria and Iraq. They have led to a decline in the number of people leaving or trying to leave areas previously controlled by IS.
Some people previously classified as dangerous have now distanced themselves from the Islamist scene, the BKA reported on request. Others died. If a threat leaves Germany, it is not automatically declassified. The only way to do this is to “be constantly abroad with no recognizable possibility or desire to return”.