Nationality of suspects: "Citizens are smart enough to classify the cases correctly"


In the run-up to the Conference of Interior Ministers in Lubeck, Herbert Reul, North Rhine-Westphalia's Minister of the Interior, in an interview with Die Welt appealed to all German federal states to publicly state the nationality of suspects.

The issue of immigration and refugee crime is widespread, the paper quoted the minister on Tuesday. Many citizens currently feel that security agencies are keeping something from them. More transparency would "take the wind out of the sails" of "right-wing populists" and regain confidence in state institutions.

"We can no longer keep the problems secret. People rightly expect us to address and solve them. "

Previously, the NRW Interior Ministry had announced that the nationality of all suspects should be named in future press releases – as far as this is beyond doubt.

What is the nationality of the suspects in Germany called

The Federal Police basically calls always the nationality of suspects. The federal states, however, deal with the topic differently. However, the majority of police authorities in the countries refrain from doing so. The nationality of the suspect is only mentioned if it is necessary for the understanding of a fact or for the establishment of a factual reference.

German citizens are "smart enough"

At the conference of interior ministers planned for the period between 4 and 6 December, Reul wants to promote his way with his counterparts. Citizens needed no patronage by authorities, but should be able to form their own picture, said the 67-year-old.

"I'm sure they (citizens – editor's note) are smart enough to put the numbers and cases right."

Through a nationwide transparent approach to nationality designation, citizens would see on the one hand that the crime rate of foreigners and refugees is actually statistically above average. On the other hand, they also find that the numbers are not nearly as high, "as the Pied Piper on the right edge" told.

Arguments against naming the nationality

Reul's Lower Saxony counterpart Boris Pistorius and Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel had previously spoken out against naming the nationality of the suspects. Crime has nothing to do with the origin, said Geisel, according to media reports. Pistorius suggested that mentioning the nationality of suspects could be premature stigma lead, especially in small communities.

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