Federal police in Germany hope to build a new structure and personnel to combat far-right extremist groups and lone attackers, the country's media outlets WDR, NDR and Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday.
The reports cited an internal planning document from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) that says up to 440 additional positions would be required to create a "central office for the fight against hate crime."
The plan, presented to Germany's Interior Ministry, has been driven by growing fears of right-wing militant extremism in the country. The BKA suggests building a new entity within its state protection department. Two groups would be dedicated to right-wing extremist crimes, the early identification of networks, identifying hate speech online and improving international coordination between authorities.
Germany, like other Western countries, has watched with alarm as far-right attacks have increased in recent years as the political climate has coarsened and grown more polarized. Regarding the growth of far-right extremism, the risk of becoming a victim of a hate crime is 10 times higher for immigrants residing in cities in eastern Germany, according to another study.
The report, released by the Leibniz Center for European Economic Research, a nonprofit institute based in Mannheim, found that the amount of experience local people share with immigrants is an important factor in understanding growing xenophobia and hate crimes in the country. The number of attacks is "higher in regions with a previously low proportion of foreigners than in regions with an already high proportion of foreigners," said Horst Entorf and Martin Lange, as reported by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). The report suggested politicians continue to work to increase the awareness of local Germans in regions with limited migration experience to prevent hate crimes.
Intelligence services have for years been increasing surveillance of ultra-right groups, which are seen as a growing threat and capable of carrying out terrorist attacks similar to those that left 51 dead at two mosques in New Zealand. The far-right terrorist group known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU) killed eight Turkish immigrants, one Greek citizen and a German police officer between 2000 and 2007, but the murders had long remained unresolved.
The loose and diverse far-right scene includes police and army officers, the report also said. German police have been shaken by an investigation into more police officers in the western German state of Hesse concerning far-right extremist leanings. The German army has also been shaken by a widening scandal over fears of hardline racist views among soldiers.