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If the investigating officer finds evidence of a bias motive underlying a crime, then this has to be documented in the case file. This acts as a flag for the state attorney to consider the bias motive when prosecuting and charging, and for the judge when sentencing (hate crime is regarded as an aggravating circumstance). 

However, if no factual evidence for a bias motive is found, then the officer proceeds with the investigation as normal. 

In this page:

Implementing the practice: step by step

  • A recommendation was made and an agreement reached by the Regulations Commission (the sub Working Group of the Interior Minister’s Conference).
  • A resolution not to pass a parliamentary law was then made by the bodies in charge of the Interior Minister’s Conference.
  • The Federal Parliamentary Investigation Commission of the homicides carried out by the German Neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Underground, recommended that there be an obligation in all investigations to prove/disprove bias motives and to document the result.
  • Each federal state is in charge of training its own police force accordingly to ensure that the practice is carried out satisfactorily. 

Evaluation of the practice

The practice has not been in existence long enough for an evaluation to have taken place.

However, being obliged to consider the possibility of a bias motive raises awareness of hate crimes among police officers in general. 

Critical success factors

The police have to carry out in their daily work what the guideline say. Applicable and relevant training, and awareness raising on hate crime is therefore useful.

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

Comparable regulations could be transferred in their entirety to other Member States.

Key Facts

Start date: 15 August 2015.
End date: Ongoing (as of April 2016).
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Police officers.
Beneficiaries: All hate crime victim groups, state attorneys, and judges. 
Key objectives: To ensure that bias motives are always considered during police investigations and that they are regarded as an aggravating circumstance during prosecution and sentencing.

Legal basis of the practice

The practice is based on a specific hate crime legal framework, namely the Guidelines for Police Investigations - Polizeiliche Dienstvorschriften (PDV 100). The exact reference is Nr. 225 paragraph 2 of PDV 100.

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • Regulations-Commission - the sub working group of the Interior Minister‘s Conference - Konferenz der Innenminister und -Senatoren der Länder

Implementing Bodies

  • Interior Minister‘s Conference - Konferenz der Innenminister und -Senatoren der Länder