European Journal of Policing Studies


Policing Berlin

From separation by the ‘iron curtain’ to the new German capital and a globalised city

Keywords Berlin, Police, comparative research into policing, plural policing, policing globalised cities, path-dependency
Authors Hartmut Aden en Evelien de Pauw
Author's information

Hartmut Aden
Hartmut Aden is Professor of German and European Public Law at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. His research interests and publications cover questions related to policing and internal security, environmental policy, human rights and public finance, especially in a trans-disciplinary legal and political/administrative science perspective. (corresp.:

Evelien de Pauw
Evelien De Pauw is lecturer and researcher at the VIVES University College, research group on safety and security. The main topics of her research are policing, internal safety and security, crisis management and technology and innovation.
  • Abstract

      Since the 1990s many authors observe a pluralisation of police functions in Europe. The paper shows that this trend is also recognisable in the city of Berlin. For example, private security companies have gained importance. Their presence may indicate an increasing intensity of formal social control. Prevention in a broach sense has become important for the Berlin State Police. However, policing in this city is also influenced by path-dependencies, going back to the specific situation of a divided city at the frontline of the east-west conflict before 1990 and to the transfer of federal government institutions to the city since the late 1990s. Specific patterns of the German administrative and legal system also influence policing at Berlin. Compared to the period before 1990 with the presence of the allied military forces and the powerful secret service (Staatssicherheit) in the Eastern part of the city, Berlin is probably less securitized today.

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