Criticism Voiced Over Amendment to Bavarian Law on Police Duties

In a hearing held on 18 May 2021, Ralf Poscher commented on the planned amendment of the Law on Police Duties in Bavaria. The law had already been reformed in 2018. The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and Alliance 90/The Greens (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN) in Bavaria filed constitutional complaints against it. The revised version of the law is now expected to be passed in July.

Critics of the amendment are particularly sceptical about the unclear criterion of "imminent danger." They also reprehend so-called preventive detention, which allows persons to be held in custody for up to two months as a precautionary measure. Another point of criticism is body cams, which are to be used in police operations.

In his statement, Poscher emphasized that the criterion of imminent danger "should not be based on abstract judgments and vague assessments." "Any danger, including imminent danger, must be defined according to the much clearer criteria of concrete danger. This way, accountability is always ensured," the legal scholar said. According to him, the regulation on preventive detention is "still unconstitutional and contrary to convention." The link to the commission of regulatory offenses and the duration of detention are both problematic.

Statement released by the Bavarian State Parliament

  • Ralf Poscher is director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law. He heads the Department of Public Law.