The Basic Law has formed the constitutional basis of our democracy for 75 years. It regulates peaceful coexistence in our society. As a police officer and trade unionist, I see the police as an important cornerstone.

The Basic Law is of central importance for our daily work and our democratic professional profile. As the police, we are one of the guarantors of our constitution and the guardians of internal security.

But what exactly is behind this ominous internal security that everyone is always talking about?

In order to make internal security tangible, I would like to put forward the following thesis: “People who no longer feel safe in our country lose faith in our democracy.”

It is in the DNA of us police employees to work with the people of our country as direct representatives of a robust democracy, to be there for them and to do so permanently, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

Stephan Weh is the regional head of the Berlin Police Union.

If we strengthen our police, we strengthen our democracy. The fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution, such as freedom of expression and assembly as well as physical integrity, but also the commitment to human dignity, are of particular relevance to our daily police work.

As police officers, we are often directly involved in protecting these rights while ensuring public safety and order. In doing so, we often find ourselves caught between civil rights and state authority.

Is my job or our job easy because we actively stand up for our democracy on the streets? No, it is not always easy. We are often insulted or even physically attacked when we represent political decisions.

We are the buffer against which all the frustration about social problems and political decisions is vented. It is often difficult for one’s own soul to protect the basic rights of those who reject our democracy and attack us as representatives of it. But in our democracy, democrats ultimately also protect “undemocrats.”

More and more often I experience situations on duty that frighten me, that show me which people live among us and are exploiting our democracy and abusing our basic rights.

There are demonstrations for the introduction of a caliphate or a dictatorship, the death of people is celebrated, people are e.g. B. attacked and/or intimidated because of their faith or origin. 

As a police officer, as a citizen of this country, but also as a democratically minded person, I am constantly asking myself these questions: Who are we and who do we want to be? Should we allow our democracy to change or should we defend it with clear words?

I believe that we must speak out clearly and the majority must actively get involved when our democracy is under attack. We have to learn to talk to each other again and not actively look the other way, because we all also have a responsibility for our democratic coexistence.

Democracy means listening and taking people’s fears seriously. It may be that in our time there are no simple answers, only complex ones. But we cannot leave people alone without answering them. We humans need answers to orient ourselves in our democracy.

If someone were to ask me how one recognizes democracy, I would say: “In Germany in the 2020s, there have already been demonstrations on our streets for the introduction of a caliphate, a monarchy or even a dictatorship. No participant subsequently had to fear for their life or was convicted without a legal process.

In which caliphate, dictatorship or monarchy can one publicly demonstrate for the introduction of democracy without having to fear for one’s life or health or of being unlawfully imprisoned?”

75 years of the Basic Law show us that this constitution is not just a historical document, but a living foundation of our democracy that needs to be protected. From a police officer’s perspective, the Basic Law remains a fundamental reference point that offers orientation and at the same time highlights challenges.

The balance between freedom and security, between civil rights and state obligations, is and remains a central discourse in the work of the police. In this context, it is essential that the voices of police employees are heard in political and social debates in order to continue to protect and promote the values ​​of the Basic Law.

I hope that we citizens will always actively and loudly protest when police employees are spat on or injured, because with every act our 75-year-old democracy is attacked.