License plate requirement for the police: Police name badge remains

License plate requirement for the police: Police name badge remains

A commissioner from Brandenburg did not want to work with a name tag. The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed her complaint.

Police officers at an event.

Labeling obligation still applies: police officers in Brandenburg during an swearing-in ceremony Photo: Christoph Soeder/zb/dpa

FREIBURG taz | Name tags do not violate the basic rights of police officers. The Federal Constitutional Court has now rejected the complaint of a police chief inspector from Brandenburg. The decision was published this Tuesday.

Name tags for police officers have been required by law in Brandenburg since 2013. A tag with the surname must be worn on the uniform when on guard duty, on patrol and during investigations. In the case of closed units, which are often used in football games or demonstrations, it is sufficient to identify them with numbers that can be assigned individually. No identification is required for police divers, for example, or for bodyguards.

Police officer has been suing since 2013

A Brandenburg police chief inspector, supported by the police union (GdP), a DGB union, has been suing against the labeling requirement since 2013. The police unions are fighting nationwide against any identification. In September 2019, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled in a landmark judgment that the obligation to wear name tags and numbers was not disproportionate. That’s how it will be trust in the police strengthened. Fears that there could be more attacks on police officers have not been confirmed.

But the chief inspector did not give up and filed a constitutional complaint, which now only referred to the name tag (and no longer to the numbers of the closed units). She has a rare surname, so it’s easy to google information about where she lives and about her personal life. With information that is freely available on the Internet, a personality profile of her can be created. The obligation to wear a name tag therefore violates their fundamental right to informational self-determination. Labeling with an individualizable number would be a milder means, according to the official.

A chamber made up of three judges has now dismissed the constitutional complaint. The arguments are not sufficiently substantiated. However, the judges respond to all the central arguments of the police officer. For example, marking with numbers is not an equally suitable, milder means. Because the legislature not only wants Misconduct by police officers enlighten, but also to improve the closeness of the police to the citizens. It works better with a name tag.

Officials can provide more protection themselves

Police officers are also not the only state employees who usually confront citizens by name. Officials also sign their decisions with their names and judges sign their judgments by name.

In addition, the judges emphasized that the police officer could also do something herself to reduce the risk of stalking. For example, you can make sure that little private information is available on the Internet. You can also apply to your municipality to block information on the population register so that not everyone can query your home address.

The legal dispute over the police identification has ended for the time being.

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