I promised a while ago on the "Because, America" thread to launch this one, inspired by Murph's look back on his service with the local sheriff's ofice; directly got to work, but unfortunately cannot embed some maps which would lend graphic clarity to my usual wall-of-text description. I re-formatted a little, and hope this is readable.
State of Lower Saxony
Obviously police organization often follows the overall administrative make-up of a country. In Germany, policing is primarily a state right. Rather than go with the specific metropolitan example of Berlin City and State police, I'd like to showcase Lower Saxony and, in particular, my home county of Göttingen. The state has an area of about 47,600 square kilometers and a population of eight million; police has a force of 24,000, of which 18,500 sworn officers, under the state police commissioner, who reports to the state minister of the interior. There are about 500 offices, 140 of which run round-the-clock shifts. These include
- the Lower Saxony State Bureau of Criminal Investigations (Hannover); also in charge of the state Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) since 2004;
- the Lower Saxony Police Academy (Nienburg, with additional campuses in Hann. Münden and Oldenburg);
- six regional HQs (Polizeidirektionen), each headed by a police commissioner - Hannover in the center and, clockwise from the northeast, Lüneburg, Braunschweig, Göttingen, Osnabrück and Oldenburg;
- the Zentrale Polizeidirektion in charge of central services; these include a helicopter squadron (two each MD 902 and EC 135), K-9, IT and medical services, the state police band, and the Bereitschaftspolizei. Literally "readiness police", the latter are formed units, particularly for basic training and anti-riot duty, but also other large-scale events. The total 1,100 officers are organized into seven company-sized "hundredships", two based in Hannover and one each with the other regional HQs; plus a technical unit also headquartered in Hannover, with one each communications, diver and special vehicles (armored cars and water cannon) platoon.
Below the six regional HQs are a total of 33 police inspections, generally at the county level. Polizeidirektion Oldenburg is unique in having a water police inspection with four stations on the North Sea coast and about 130 personnel. Riverine patroling is done by personnel of local inspections. For example, under regional HQ Göttingen, Police Inspection Nienburg/Schaumburg has ten officers policing the Weser, Aller and Hamme rivers on Lower Saxony territory as well as Lake Dümmer.
One of the other four inspections under HQ Göttingen is for the former county of Göttingen itself (the latter was recently merged with neighboring Osterode County, but AFAIK police organisation remains the same). This is an area of 1.117 square kilometers with a population of 267,000. The inspection has a total of 504 sworn officers, five administrative officers and 58 civilian staff. Criminal investigations are conducted by seven Kommissariate:
- First (homicide, sexual, arson, kidnapping, weapons and explosives, assault);
- Second (theft, burglary, robbery, extortion, drugs);
- Third (fraud, economic crime, forgery, corruption, illegal gambling, human trafficking);
- Fourth (state protection, politically motivated crime);
- Fifth (crime scene investigation and files);
- Sixth (youth crime, graffiti, bike theft);
- Seventh (traffic);
plus a Task Force Cybercrime/Digital Forensics.
The city of Göttingen (population 120,000, 20 percent of which students at the local uni) has two patrol divisions with about 75 officers each, one co-located with the inspection. There is also an autobahn patrol division located in nearby Mengershausen on the A 7, responding to autobahn-related calls from the the counties of Göttingen, and Northeim and Osterode to the north (the Lower Saxony state line runs south of Göttingen county). All run 24-hour operations.
The same is not true for five supplemental stations which operate Monday to Friday 0730 to 1600 only, located in Friedland, Gleichen, Rosdorf, Bovenden and Adelebsen; these are communities ranging from 6,000 to 14,000, in a ring of five to 15 kilometers from Göttingen. In some cases they are manned by just a single officer reporting to the criminal investigations division on an area of 75-130 square kilometers, though others have a staff of three covering surrounding communities with a total of 15,000-30,000 inhabitants for.
Altogether, in 2017 there were 18,200 cases of reported crime in the area covered by the offices above, a reduction of ten percent from the previous year, and the first time under 19,000 since 1999. Resolution rate was 61.4 percent, slightly up from 59.7. 1,418 offenses were attributed to refugees, down from 2,709; mostly battery, theft and fare evasion. Minors were suspects in 1,063 cases, a return to 2015 levels after 994 the previous year.
Among crime fields, battery was prominent with over 2,000 cases, the second-highest number in the last ten years. 827 alone resulted from about 1,000 domestic disturbance calls. Almost a quarter of attacks occurred under the influence of alcohol. Police officers were assaulted in 124 cases, slightly down from 130; about half of them resulted in battery charges, with 57 perpetrators under the influence. There was a rise in drug cases from 905 to 1,218, attributed to more frequent controls and more successful investigations. Burglary was down to 403 cases from 520 the previous year; 259 occurred within the Göttingen city limits, and 160 could be attributed to a single perpetrator. There were two murder investigations, six for manslaughter and two for negligent homicide.
Merged former counties
Two further Kommissariate of the Göttingen inspection combining patrol and small investigative divisions with 24-hour operations are located in my hometown Duderstadt, 30 road kilometers to the east, and Hann. Münden, 30 kilometers to the southwest. Duderstadt is a town of 20,000 (including surrounding villages) on the state line with Thuringia, but the local division covers the entirety of what used to be its own county before it was merged into Göttingen, about 270 square kilometers with a population of 43,000. Two weekday/daytime operations stations are located in Gieboldehausen (15 road kilometers to the north, population 4,000; three officers responsible for an area of about 100 square kilometers with a population of 15,000) and Ebergötzen (15 kilometers to the northwest, population 2,000; a single officer for about 70 square kilometers with a population of ca. 7,000).
Total criminal cases in 2017 were 1,775, slightly up from 1,704 the previous year. 238 suspects were minors, quite a rise from 123. OTOH, resolution rate rose sharply to 75.1 percent from 58.5, mostly attributed to a reduction in crimes which have typical low rates, like car break-ins; these cases dropped from 59 to 29. Though burglaries increased from 44 to 54, overall property crime dropped from 546 to 384 cases, 44 percent of which resolved, up from 24.9. Fraud and forgery dropped from 313 to 242 cases, a third of which internet-related; resolution rate rose from 59 to 69 percent.
Violent crime rose from 289 to 318 cases, with 95 percent resolved; this included 208 cases of battery, and a rise from 64 to 108 of domestic violence, attributed to a higher reporting rate. Sexual assault rose from four to twelve cases, mostly due to the previous year's change to more inclusive legislation. All six cases of assault on minors could be cleared up. There was one negligent homicide investigation which however did not confirm the initial suspicion. Drug cases rose very sharply from 124 to 355, with a particular increase in possession of cannabis and amphetamines; drug dealing rose from 26 to 92 cases, though with a nearly 100 percent resolution rate.
Hann. Münden is similar, a town of 24,000 right on the state line with Hesse; the local division covers 320 square kilometers with a population of 44,000. As noted, there is a campus of the State Police Academy in town, too. Again there are also two outlying workday/daytime stations. One is in Dransfeld, a town of a little over 4,000 about 15 road kilometers to the northeast, where two officers work two shifts covering an area with a population of 12,000; the other covers Staufenberg, a community of about 9,000 in a salient protruding into Hesse to the south.
Crime in the area was at a seven-year low in 2017 at 1,733 reported cases, down from 1,941 the previous year. Resolution rate rose from 65 to 68 percent. As elsewhere, burglary dropped from 44 to 36, but drug cases rose from 122 to 176, most of which over cannabis. Again this was explained by increased controls, namely DUI checks.