ZuRecht – Police in an Open Society

After George Floyd’s death, thousands of citizens across the United States and Europe took to the streets to protest against racism and police violence. One topic that has repeatedly been discussed in the context of these protests concerns the role of diversity, discrimination, and racism in both police training and everyday police work. Starting in autumn 2019, the project ZuRecht - Die Polizei in der offenen Gesellschaft (ZuRecht – Police in an Open Society) has been addressing these and similar questions.


ZuRecht investigates how the police force can map social change and incorporate a diverse range of  cultures, religions, values, and codes of conduct in their training programs and personnel policies. With a view to understanding connections and interdependencies, police recruitment and the socio-cultural challenges faced by police are examined using empirical, jurisprudential, democratic, and organizational-sociological theories.

ZuRecht is supported by the Center for Security and Society of the University of Freiburg and the German Police University. The Freiburg Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law is an associate partner. Funding is provided by the Mercator Foundation. > Project Homepage

The topics that ZuRecht studies have received widespread media attention in recent weeks. A small selection includes:

> "A liberal culture within the police force is something worth fighting for" - Interview with Ralf Poscher 29.6.2020 (English)

> "In Germany, Confronting Shameful Legacy is Essential Part of Police Training" New York Times 23.6.2020 (English)

> "Bei der Polizei die große Ausnahme: Menschen mit Migartionshintergrund." SWR Aktuell 16.7.2020

> "Mehr Polizisten mit Migrationshintergrund nötig" Greenpeace Magazine 8.7.2020

>"Polizei soll diverser werden" WDR Nachrichten 8.7.2020

> Press release announcing the commencement of the project ZuRecht (20.11.2019)

(Radio interviews in the download center)