Prüf- und Dokumentationspflicht von vorurteilsbasierten Tatmotiven bei Gewalttaten
In cases of violent crime, German police officers are now duty bound to investigate whether there is evidence of a bias motive having prompted the offence.
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.
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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.
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.
Comparable regulations could be transferred in their entirety to other Member States.
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.
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.