The police union for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) stunned Germans this week when it announced it would bring policemen from Turkey to help patrol the turbulent streets of some immigrant neighbourhoods in NRW cities. With this announcement, the stateâ€™s police administration is admitting domestic police forces can no longer handle violent Turkish and other youths of immigrant backgrounds inhabiting these quarters.
â€œIt canâ€™t go on like this any longer,â€ said the unionâ€™s chairman, Erich Rettinghaus, in the German national newspaper, Die Welt. â€œPerhaps it is a good measure. One should try it out. The new NRW Interior Minister is from Duisburg and knows the problems.â€ According to Die Welt, the Turkish police would patrol the immigrant Turkish areas in their own uniforms together with German policemen.
There are 3.5 million Muslims in Germany and those of Turkish background constitute 2.3 million of that number. With 18 million people, North Rhine-Westphalia, located in western Germany, is the most populous and economically powerful of Germanyâ€™s 16 states. NRWâ€™s most important cities, such as Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Essen have large numbers of residents of different ethnicities that make up about 25 per cent of their populations. Overall, of Germanyâ€™s 82 million people about 20 per cent have a non-German background.
Many Germans do not view their police as the guilty party in this shameful surrender. Rather, they view the policeâ€™s admission regarding their loss of control of German territory as a failure of Germanyâ€™s politicians. Having failed to enact measures to deter or control such criminal behaviour and to enforce existing laws that would allow the police to take a tough stand against the hoodlums and criminals of immigrant background, they have allowed the security environment in these neighbourhoods to deteriorate to the point where gangs of violent youths now rule the roost.
Naturally, no German politician has commented on the police unionâ€™s proposal let alone resigned or been fired for allowing German civil authority to become so deeply discredited. One German observer probably captured their attitude of appeasement best when he wrote, â€œThe priority is that Germans support with tolerance and good will the formation of these Turkish areas.â€
Ignoring the implications and significance of the police unionâ€™s announcement also keeps the fiction of Germanyâ€™s official multicultural policy intact, in which some Germans, including politicians, unfortunately still believe.Â Others, however, are much more cynical about multiculturalism. Concerning the arrival of foreign police on German soil, one observer sarcastically wrote: â€œThis is what multicultural enrichment looks like.â€
Besides being legal and practical, taking a tough stand would earn the German police the respect of immigrant youth who are used to hard reactions for misbehaviour from police in their native countries. As it stands, the German police and their sympathizers feel their hands are tied by political correctness, which does not allow them to create that respect. If police react too strongly, Germanyâ€™s strong leftist media condemn them as racist or as a new version of the Gestapo. On the other hand, if Turkish neighbourhoods experience outbursts of violence, then German police are accused of not having listened to the residents. Lack of education, unemployment and failed integration policies are also given as reasons for immigrant violence; but the left magnanimously holds all of German society responsible for this.
Germans also blame a destructive immigration policy for the current lawless situations in their cities. No less a personage than former German Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt confirmed this view. Surveying the damage done to Germanyâ€™s social fabric by irresponsible immigration, Schmidt, Germanyâ€™s chancellor from 1974 to 1982, said in 2004 the Turkish migrant workers that started coming to Germany in the 1960s should never have been allowed in. And when a socialist like Schmidt makes an admission of this magnitude, then one can be certain the situation is bad.