Itwilllbeok sez, "According to the German Police University police officers used exactly 85 bullets in 2011 - 49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed. Germany has a population of about 80 million. (This does only take into account shots in connection with crimes. There were an additional 9000 shots on dangerous, sick and injured animals)." Discuss

106 Responses to “German police fired 85 bullets in 2011”

  1. CraigDanger says:

    Michael Bay shot that many in the time it took me to tyoe this

  2. Mitchell Glaser says:

    A while back Germany experienced a societal event that brought it face to face with its violent nature, and it changed them. I am afraid that the U.S. has not yet experienced the event that will do as much for us, despite having participated in some pretty horrificabulistic undertakings.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      A while back Germany experienced a societal event that brought it face to face with its violent nature, and it changed them.

      Was it…..a David Hasselhoff concert?

      • Fnordius says:

        No, of course not!

        It was the Eurovision Song Contest. It has scarred Europe so badly that the Even England’s famed hooligans were well behaved during the 2006 World Cup.

      • Øyvind says:

        Hard as it is to believe, the Hoff actually mellows ze germans. Both he and they are slick, friction free entities in love with soulless pop songs. That only applies to the Hoff onstage, of course.
        [edit] That came out a bit harsh against the germans. Let it be known that I like germans in general, and have met lots of nice ones. But german pop music is no good.

        • John Doe says:

          And of course you know german pop music because… you’ve properly researched it. BS!
          I suggest You go and do your homework.
          Seeed, Deichkind, Clueso, Fanta4, Beatsteaks, Sven Väth and the List goes on and on… There is a lot of POPULAR music which isn’t bad…

          • Øyvind says:

             “isn’t bad” is not the same as good. But fair is fair, I went ahead and did some homework, listened to some of the stuff you mentioned. I still stand behind my original statement. As you said, it’s not bad. But it’s not good. And that is of course a matter of opinion, but to quote Bill Hicks: it’s a judgement call, and I’m making the judgement. ;-)
            (Also, being popular does not equal good. Just as often it means pampering to the lowest common denominator in the audience.)

        • Guest says:

          You´re right danish pop music is much better.
          I still remember these barbie girl idiots because that was such a great tune.

        • Guest says:

          You´re right danish pop music is much better.
          I still remember those “barbie girl” idiots because that was such a great tune!

      • retepslluerb says:

        Well, Hasselhoff sang in English in Germany.

        Justin Bieber sings in English in America. So what’s  your excuse? :-)

    • digi_owl says:

      Well it “helps” that you average US civilian has not see war up close on home soil since the civil war. That one incident in WW2 was a military target on a island, not bombing of urban centers on the mainland.

      • Mitchell Glaser says:

        I’ve often thought the same thing. Similarly, it strikes that our all-volunteer army is what has allowed the vomitalicious (not a Hoff reference) actions in Afghanistan and Iraq to go on for so long. I don’t think the public would have tolerated their sons being drafted and sent into those pointless conflicts.

      • Mitchell Glaser says:

        I’ve often thought the same thing. Similarly, it strikes that our all-volunteer army is what has allowed the vomitalicious (not a Hoff reference) actions in Afghanistan and Iraq to go on for so long. I don’t think the public would have tolerated their sons being drafted and sent into those pointless conflicts.

        • digi_owl says:

          Those two are also fueled by a private army of contractors (more so in Iraq than Afghanistan). Also, i ran into a claim once that the Vietnam war protests mostly ended in USA once the draft was halted. Still, it seems that Europe is sliding back into pre-WW protectionism. Not a happy sight as the generation that experienced WW2 first hand has barely left us.

      • Dlo Burns says:

        Well the bombs were kind of duds…

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_balloon
        (srsly)

  3. fr4nk says:

     I hope they spent a lot more bullets than that.  Everyone equipped with a firearm needs to train.

    • retepslluerb says:

      It’s a common lament that the should train more, but this study is about shots fired “in the field”. In many states they train only twice a year, according to an union speaker’s complaint. Who finishes by emphasizing that it is as important to learn how to avoid having to shoot at all.

    • grimc says:

      85 bullets fired for a population of 80 million doesn’t say anything about their firearm training, but it says a helluva lot in favor of German police training.

      • Lemoutan says:

         Or the general equanimity of the people I suppose.

      • Tiny Zombie says:

        “36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 killed”Generally officer  involved shootings tally 3.59 shots per incident (admittedly US figures). If we assume that they are not double counting and the distinction between injured and killed is intentional, that means 21 persons shot. Account for double-taps and I would say the German Officers are pretty good shots too. 

  4. iconoclasmic says:

    Thankful for the cost control.

  5. leidentech says:

    I can’t decide if this is an insanely high number or an insanely low number.

    • Mitchell Glaser says:

      To think this was insanely high you would have to be… insanely high

      • Thomas Hicks says:

         Or European…

      • leidentech says:

         Think about it, really… there were X number of moments where German police felt it necessary to shoot at another human being.

        Compared to America, sure, it’s insanely low.  But, if you really think about it there’s still 85 times that a cop shot at another human being.

        Still insanely high (maybe) – in my humbly and totally straight opinion.

        • paulo says:

           >compared to america, it’s insanely low.

          and you’re basing this on….?

          • paulo says:

             yeah, i googled just that before i asked, smartass. nowhere are there specific stats for 2011 detailing how many times cops shot people in the US. we can assume it’s higher than germany. are germany’s rates ‘insanely’ lower? no idea. lower, surely. maybe in 3000 years it’ll balance out Auschwitz et al.

            Godwin!

          • leidentech says:

             If your point is that there are no good statistics gathered, then I apologize for my snark.  But the search results of NYC, which are well documented, and Houston, should be enough to extrapolate “insanely” – which admittedly is not a very precise term.

            Godwin indeed. 

  6. Zod says:

    “(This does only take into account shots in connection with crimes.”
    Uh, police don’t normally go around shooting their guns unless it *IS* in connection with a crime? So what where these 85 reasons the German police had for shooting their guns at non-crime affiliated situations?

    • Mark Lee McDonald says:

      I believe your question is answered in the original post. Like in the very next sentence.

      • Zod says:

        No, I don’t think so…the statement says specifically “shots in connection with crimes.” The next sentence says that they fired an additional 9000 shots against sick or injured animals…Those aren’t crimes, are they? At least in my neighborhood, when my cat pukes up dinner on the carpet, we don’t usually call the local constabulary and tell them to shoot the cat!
        So according to the statements in this article, the German police shot 9000 bullets into unknown number of injured or sick animals, 85 bullets in other un-crime related activities and an unmentioned number in actual crime related incidences…Right?
        Plus, the statement
        “49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed. ”
        juxtaposed with the statement
        “this does only take into account shots in connection with crimes”
        tells me that the 85 shots were not crime related.

        • Jerry says:

          I think you may be misreading something. It says the 85 shots were crime-related. Then it goes on to break up that number into 49 warning shots and 36 shots on suspects. Add 49 and 36, you get 85. According to the summary, there were no non-crime related shots apart from those 9000 that were related to dangerous, sick and injured animals.

        • Wha…? No, you are wrong. They shot 85 bullets in crime-related incidents on humans or to warn humans. Of those 85, 49 were warning shots, 36 were targeted on suspects (add them up, that’s 85 in total). Those 36 shots killed six people and injured 15. It’s pretty simple, really. The 49 and 36 are not additional shots, they just split the 85 into two groups.

          The other ca. 9,000 shots were not crime related and used to kill animals (for example after a traffic incident caused by an animal that leaves the animal half-dead).

          I have no idea whatsoever how you got the idea that those 85 were not crime related.

          • retepslluerb says:

            Traffic incidents outside the city, mind you. When there is not enough time to call in the hunter responsible for the area. 

            Also probably a couple of animals – wild and domesticated – which became dangerous to humans, like escaped cattle, vicious dogs and of course boars.

  7. Stonewalker says:

    Good for the German police.  I wish American police (local, state, federal) were all held to similar scopes of record-keeping.  It says a lot about the character and values of a police force.  Unfortunately, American police are protected by Rank/File/Brass/Unions, and any potential excessive use of force is excused, even when innocents die.

    • Ashen Victor says:

       Don`t get it wrong, but in Europe policemen are as protected by their Rank/File/Brass/Unions as any American one.
      It´s just that in Europe we teach cops NOT to shoot people.

      Beatings on other hand…

      • digi_owl says:

        I wonder how many of the crimes were crimes of desperation vs crimes of passion or down right viciousness. And related to that, how the criminal was armed.

    • Mister44 says:

       re: ” were all held to similar scopes of record-keeping. ”

      The stats are out there.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      Funny how you decided to ignore the actual message this sends, and decided to take the opportunity to demonize labor.

      • Stonewalker says:

         I think about these problems a lot, and I think police unions in America have gone far beyond protecting labor, and I think they are contributing to the growing Police State.  I’m not taking an opportunity to demonize anything, I’m sharing an honest and related opinion.  You may may not like it, but there is a serious problem in America and honest conversations need to be had in order to fix it. 

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          I see.  The point is the amount of bullets fired in Germany vs. U.S. has nothing to do with “unions”.  You may try comparing German social policies to those in the U.S. for your answer.   I promise you that it’s not rank and file police, or their unions that are militarizing city forces, or requesting cameras everywhere.  You’re argument is misplaced.

    • ChicagoD says:

      Also, let’s not forget that Europeans citizens are much, much less likely to have a gun when committing a crime. That makes it easier to not shoot them. That difference does not account for *some* U.S. shootings, but it accounts for many.

  8. Joe Maynard says:

    No wonder Germans never laugh when I quote lines from Sledge Hammer

  9. Mark Lee McDonald says:

    The Portland PD expend more than 85 shots per year on the unarmed and the mentally ill alone. Germany really needs to improve its game, that sort of thing was their specialty for a few years.

  10. Ladyfingers says:

    This doesn’t suit the message of the Fear Industrial Complex.

  11. mrtut says:

    Wikipedia on Germany’s GSG-9 anti-terror unit: 
    “From 1972 to 2003 they reportedly completed over 1,500 missions, discharging their weapons on only five occasions. At the SWAT World Challenge in 2005, GSG 9 won an impressive eight out of eight events, beating 17 other teams.” 

    This makes me wonder about Osama Bin Laden’s death…

    • Kimmo says:

      From 1972 to 2003 they reportedly completed over 1,500 missions, discharging their weapons on only five occasions.

      31 years.

    • Dwight Cribb says:

      That is actually the most impressive statistic on this page. I do believe that cultural expectations/acceptance on the use of force will influence the behaviour of law enforcement officers.

      • ffabian says:

        Live by the sword, die by the sword.

      • retepslluerb says:

        Case in point: The LEGO weapon article on this site. Americans sure love their weapons, even the peaceful ones.

        • HahTse says:

          To be fair, those LEGO weapons ARE pretty cool.

          (I’m German)

          And don’t forget who’s the third biggest weapons dealer in the world…you could say that we do what any smart drug dealer does:
          We sell, but we don’t use.

          • retepslluerb says:

            German had one of the highest numbers of privately held firearms, though. 

            It’s just less visible than, for example, the Swiss practice of making citizens keep military grade firearms at home. But like the Swiss, modern Germans usually don’t romanticize their weapons.

            By contrast, look at nearly any gun control discussion among Americans: Sooner or later they’ll draw the “Keep tyrants out” card, despite their fact that neither their women nor their blacks nor their gays got their rights by extensive firefights.

  12. wildemar says:

    - “Polizeibeamter Hans, he’s like a wild animal.”

    - “Gotcha”. Bang!

  13. benenglish says:

    I have an ex-German police H&K P7-PSP pistol.  When they got old enough, they were mostly imported into the U.S. for resale.  As wonderful a piece as it is, it has a couple of quirks.  The mechanism uses a gas retardation cylinder in a sort of very sophisticated delayed-blowback design but the gas cylinder is immediately above and forward of the trigger.  Dump 50 rounds through the thing as fast as you can and those hot exhaust gases make it so hot in that spot you can blister a finger.  A later re-design for the U.S. market included a heat shield.

    Also, the mechanism presupposes the use of premium ammunition and in fairly small doses, to boot.  The sort of cheap, dirty “range” ammo common in the U.S. for blasting at the range will crud up the mechanism in as little as 200 rounds.  It’s insanely labor-intensive to do all the cleaning needed to keep this thing running over lots of rounds.

    I always wondered why this design (which is, ergonomically, the best ever and, make no mistake, owners *love* these super-high quality pistols) was so screwed up in such fundamental ways.

    Then I read a story about a training class for police in the U.S. that was attended by some German visitors.  They were utterly shocked at the number of rounds fired.  Apparently, in a premium U.S. shooting school, you’re likely to fire more rounds before lunch the first day than the average German policeman uses in training for a year.  Or more.

    The design of the pistol then made sense to me.  The German police carry guns.  They just don’t expect to use them much, so the fact that the thing got so hot after 50 fast shots was something that never occurred to the designers as a problem.

    Now I see why.

    • Flo_Rian says:

       I am from Germany, and for me the idea of a policeman regularly firing 50 rounds or more in one occasion is very surreal and quite a bit disturbing. =/

    • Plut0 says:

      I’d say: it’s a feature.  

      No really, with 50 shots you can already kill a classroom full of people. That’s insane.

      • Jason says:

        You’d have to be really lucky. Shooting a pistol and hitting a target is really hard and takes thousands of rounds to be really good. Pistol shooting is also a diminishing skill, as in if you don’t practice regularly you can’t hit shit. 

        Most police officiers in the US need to qualify with their pistols twice a year. Before the qualifications they are required to practice and they probably fire 300-500 rounds (that’s an estimate). And that’s just for basic marksmanship. 

        Having police officers fire only 50 rounds a year sounds irresponsible for when the time comes when they’re going to need to use their pistols.

    • Dlo Burns says:

      So would you say German design favors grace and complexity over durability?

    • HahTse says:

      Which might have something to do with the fact that in Germany, the criminals rarely shoot back.
      I guess that “cover fire” accounts for a quite some amount of total shots fired in the US.

  14. neapel says:

    The numbers are even more interesting if you know that every police officer in Germany is carrying a gun (and baton), and they don’t use Tasers (and I think they don’t usually carry pepper spray).
    (They still manage to rack up quite a number of police brutality incidents without these weapons though)

    • James says:

       The personal touch still counts for a lot in Germany.

      • neapel says:

        that’s also why “Passivbewaffnung” (“passive weaponry”, basically armor) is illegal at protests, because it would be too hard for police to curb stomp somebody, and we can’t have that.

    • koko szanel says:

      They DO carry Tazers and they DO use them.

      • neapel says:

        They seem to consider it, but only for special forces it seems (while ministers of the interior usually never learn anything from the rest of the world, they seem to do it right here and not introduce Tasers as “non-lethal weapons” to use instead of running after somebody… but as an alternative to shooting people with bullets) http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elektroschockpistole#Deutschland

      • Heph says:

        Taser weapons as any distance elekrocution systems are “Verboten” in germany since the 1st April of 2008 according to the WaffG (German weapon law) Suplemetal 2 point 1.3.6

        Iirc §55 fo the same law which regulates the exceptions for the German police forces (among others) doesnt forbid the usage but normaly the allowed weapons are regulated by the 16 federal states in theyr own police laws.

        Mostly concerns about the health and safety of the taser-victims keeps our police here fromintroducing those weapons.

  15. Daniel Lundh says:

    It doesn’t say how many bullets wre used but the number of incidents involving police firing shots increased from 33 times in 2010 to 65 times in 2011: (swedish article): http://www.tv4.se/1.2550988/2012/02/27/polisen_avlossade_dubbelt_sa_manga_skott_2011_kan_ej_forklara_okning

  16. Ipo says:

     Between 1952 and 2011 a minimum of 468 people were killed by German police using firearms.  

    2328 shots were fired at people. 

    Around 5 shots per kill. 
    Doesn’t seem like they need much target practice. 

    • OldBrownSquirrel says:

      Does that figure include East German police? Or is it just police in West Germany and reunified Germany?

      • Ipo says:

        Just West and re-united Germany. 
        More than 872 people were killed just trying to cross the border out of the GDR within that time-frame by East German Cops. 
        Unless one considers those border guards military, which by name they were.

    •  wow, is that true? How they did their practice before they use the gun?

      • Ipo says:

        Twice a year, a few dozen rounds each time. 
        German cops hit their targets about 80% of the time during training and about 20% irl. 

        German cops often say that their weapons training is insufficient and many admit that they are scared of their own gun.

        • Michael says:

          “German cops often say that their weapons training is insufficient and many admit that they are scared of their own gun.”

          My take? It seems to work though. If the cop is afraid of their own gun they’ll see it as a last resort option which is only beneficial.

          In general it strikes me that in North America there is way too much focus put on “might” when it comes to policing, instead of emphasizing deescalation.

        • HahTse says:

          “many admit that they are scared of their own gun.”

          …and that’s a a good thing.

          Guns are made for one thing, and one thing only.

          Killing people.

          It’s a good and healthy reaction to fear something with that kind of purpose.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Actually, they’re also made for killing dinner, which may be a more common use in the US than in Western Europe.

  17. It sometimes make people scare, in my country, even some police use the gun to cut their own life.  I hope that police getting better understanding psychologically about using the Gun.

  18. Graysmith says:

    Swedish police fired 65 times in 2011, though that was apparently an unusually high number. The previous year, 2010, they fired 33 shots.

    Not as good an average as the German police seeing as Sweden only has a population of 9.5 million, but there it is. I imagine you’ll find similar kinds of numbers in most European/developed countries. It’s the gun-happy U.S. that’s the anomaly.

    • Ipo says:

      There are a few fields in which the USA only competes with the third world and/or dictatorships. 
      Like executions and population/prisoners percentage.

  19. Mister44 says:

     re: “There were an additional 9000 shots on dangerous, sick and injured animals”

    Nice to see the practice of police shooting pets is an international one.

    It’s nice that the Germans don’t have as much violent crime as the US and need their guns less. I do note the use of ‘warning shots’. I am pretty sure that is against policy in the US to use warning shots.

    If you are in mortal danger, you are in mortal danger. This is the same reason they don’t aim for a leg or shoot to wound.  Lawyers come back saying if he was only shot in the leg, he must not have been a big enough threat to warrant fire arms in the first place.

    But as others noted, Europe police like to bang on people more. I think its the same everywhere – asshole cops mixed in with decent ones.

    • retepslluerb says:

      It’s not about pets.  If any pets are getting shot, it’s dogs that had attacked people and are still attacking people. 

      Even that is pretty rare and makes national news.

      The animals are overwhelmingly wildlife, usually injured beyond healing in a traffic accident, boars running wild or escaped cattle.

    • ffabian says:

      “Europe police like to bang on people more.”
      Source?
      I have the sneaking suspicion the opposite is true. Police officers who are more likely to shoot (and/or kill) someone are also more inclined to inflict other forms of harm on their fellow citizens.

    • dnebdal says:

      That has always seemed like a weird policy to me. A warning shot says “I have a working and loaded weapon, and you might want to consider that” – which seems like it could be useful. It’s a way of keeping a situation from changing in a way that will put you in mortal danger, and that’s not without uses to the police.

      Of course, there’s the different definitions of “warning shot” – you seem to use “aimed at the person, but not intended to kill”, while the article seems to mean “aimed so as to not hit anyone”.

    • dnebdal says:

      That has always seemed like a weird policy to me. A warning shot says “I have a working and loaded weapon, and you might want to consider that” – which seems like it could be useful. It’s a way of keeping a situation from changing in a way that will put you in mortal danger, and that’s not without uses to the police.

      Of course, there’s the different definitions of “warning shot” – you seem to use “aimed at the person, but not intended to kill”, while the article seems to mean “aimed so as to not hit anyone”.

    • dnebdal says:

      That has always seemed like a weird policy to me. A warning shot says “I have a working and loaded weapon, and you might want to consider that” – which seems like it could be useful. It’s a way of keeping a situation from changing in a way that will put you in mortal danger, and that’s not without uses to the police.

      Of course, there’s the different definitions of “warning shot” – you seem to use “aimed at the person, but not intended to kill”, while the article seems to mean “aimed so as to not hit anyone”.

  20. kballweg says:

    Perspective: in the 2006  Sean Bell shooting, NY police fired 50 shots at three (unarmed) people in a matter of seconds. 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Bell_shooting_incident

  21. Mark Mendel says:

    That’s about as many as US police use on a single suspect.

  22. elysian says:

    Number of deaths in England and Wales as a result of police shooting: 54 – since 1990.  

    (Ref: http://inquest.gn.apc.org/website/statistics/deaths-in-police-custody/police-shootings )

    That’s an average of 2 fatal police shootings per year for a population of 54 million people. (I don’t know how many bullets they used, though.)

    In England and Wales, the police do not usually carry guns.  Any police shooting tends to be a big news event and lead to enquiries and public uproar.  Last year there were riots after the shooting of Mark Duggan.

    (On the other hand, the Northern Ireland stats are different. The Royal Ulster Constabulary fatally shot 51 people during the troubles. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_use_of_firearms_in_the_United_Kingdom#Notable_incidents )

  23. ok guys, let you tell you something by a german. this rate is VERY low.  the reasons are:

    a.) we have a very thight weapon law

    b.) the number of weapons, legal and also illegal, is comparing to the US very-very-very-low

    c.) german/european police officers are not so trigger happy than in the US.

    d.) because the chance to get shoot as a civilian or as a police-officer on duty is, comparing to the us, …like not existing.

    e.) we have a history, not a good one, and we have learned that violence and weapons are not healthy

    f.) …we have cars and the autobahn and NO speed-limit…we DON´T NEED weapons :-)

    • retepslluerb says:

      Our rate of civilian held guns is certainly lower than that of the US, but not “very very very low”.  It’s more like 30 guns per 100 people, as opposed to 90 guns per 100 people in the US.

      • Guido Nockemann says:

        lower….in germany their are ca. 3,6 mill. legal wepons and germany has 81 mill. people…that makes 22,5 people of 100 have a gun.

        but the number is in reality lower, ´cause each sport-shooter and hunter  has more then one gun, app. 3-4 guns.

        so it will be more like 7-10 people of 100 own a gun.

        btw…the handling of a gun at home is also much more restricted then in the most us-staates.  for example, if you don´t have a safe for the gun and ammunition you don´t get a permission to own a gun. and you can only have one for the time you have a need for it. if you quit your shooting-hobby or hunting you have to sell them.

  24. HahTse says:

    This would actually make really good material for an argument against the NRA and for more gun control.

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