German Study: Extremism Not Systemic in Country's Security Forces
By VOA News October 06, 2020
Germany's Interior Ministry Tuesday released a new report showing that right-wing extremism is not a systemic problem among the nation's security forces.
At a Berlin news conference, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters the study, conducted by Germany's domestic security agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, BfV, indicated less than one percent of Germany's police forces, security agencies and military personnel espouse far-right worldviews and sympathies.
Seehofer said the report shows "the overwhelming majority" of security employees abide by the Constitution. He said, "This means also that we have no structural problem with right-wing extremism among security forces at the federal or state level."
Nonetheless, the report, which surveyed police forces in the country's 16 federal states, showed a total of 377 cases in which officers have been suspected of having far-right links over the last three years.
The report cited 319 cases among state security agencies and 58 among federal agencies. Seehofer said "Each of these cases is a disgrace, also because it affects everyone within the security forces."
The report, part of a wider inquiry into far-right extremism in the civil service, seeks to dispel concerns that authorities have turned a blind eye to potentially violent nationalists gaining footholds in the uniformed services.
It is a highly sensitive issue in a country still haunted by the extermination of six million Jews by Hitler's Nazi regime during World War II.
Seehofer commissioned the wider report into the scope of extremism within the civil service last year after the shooting death of a pro-immigration politician by a suspected far-right sympathizer in Hesse, and a deadly attack outside a synagogue and a kebab restaurant in the city of Halle.
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