Language Obligations of the Police

Language Obligations of the Police

In the quest for public security, communication is the most important operational resource used by police. When German police act in a preventive capacity, officers generally speak German while performing their duties. To over­come language barriers, the police may deviate from German, but there is no clear obligation to communicate in other languages. Contrary to this monolingualism, a duty to provide information multilingually applies to criminal pros­ecutions. Interestingly, the intensity of interventions in the case of taking a person into custody, is quite com­pa­ra­ble to the intensity of interventions for criminal prosecution. The border between public security and law en­force­ment is often blurry in practice and difficult to define legally, contributing to the disparity of communication obliga­tions regarding police action.
This doctoral project examines police obligations regarding the use of foreign languages in a pluralized and in­creas­ingly multilingual society. Based on the above considerations, this dissertation examines the distribution of ‘lan­guage risk’ in preventive police action and its effects on fundamental rights. The potential of recent technolog­i­cal developments and the actual practices of the police in dealing with non-German speakers are considered. Form­ing part of a broader interdisciplinary research project ‘ZuRecht – Die Polizei in der offenen Gesellschaft’, this project re­lies principally on doctrinal analysis and statutory interpretation, as well as empirical methods for deal­ing with linguistic differences.

 

Research outcome: doctoral dissertation at the University of Freiburg (2019–2022)
Project language:German
Photo:Daria Sannikova 2938197/Pexels

 

 

Weitere interessante Beiträge

Zur Redakteursansicht