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Useful Notes / The Thin Formerly Green Line

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Priorities are everything.

Policeman: Fräulein, you can't swim in this lake. It's illegal.
Woman: Couldn't have told me that before I stripped naked?!
Policeman: Stripping naked isn't illegal.note 

This page is about the Polizei: the law enforcement in The Berlin Republic, and West Germany before that.

It is, similarly to US law enforcement, not a single entity, but a multitude of police forces operating both on regional (well, state) and national level. It used to be different, both under Those Wacky Nazis and East Germany, who once opted for highly centralized, paramilitary police forces (being ideal for autocratic states) rather than the quirky and freedom-loving lawmen they are nowadays.

Every German Land has its own police force, and then there are federal entities like the Bundespolizei,note  the Bundeszollverwaltungnote  and the Bundeskriminalamt.note 


The Polizei doesn't necessarily share (or no longer shares) certain other countries' stereotypes of being overly violent, corrupt or even lazy (remember, they're German), but they are still gladly depicted as stuffy, pompous, ignorant, dictatorially bureaucratic and racist, in combination with not being terribly smart.

As for the "Thin Green Line"... While several German states historically had their policemen, gendarmes and soldiers wear green uniforms (Bavaria in particular), green became Germany's standardised police colour from 1936 to 1945, and again from the 1970s to the early 2000snote  and consisted of hilarious bright green blazers, mustard-yellow shirts (earning them the unfortunate nickname Senfmännchen - Mustard Men), brown trousers and black ties.


After a uniform reform in 2004, each state got to choose their own uniforms; most opted for boring blue (including the Bundespolizei), and some for black (like Hamburg), but Bavaria and Saarland decided to stay green (though they did get rid of the ridiculous green blazers in favour of snazzy black leather jackets). As for many police vehicles - many still retained their greens and whites since repaint ing efforts lagged behind. As of 2017, Bavaria decided to go Austrian (of all things), adapting white caps, dark blue overalls with yellow lettering and pale blue lampasses.

It should be noted that the Verfassungsschutznote  doesn't count, since it's already supposed to be Germany's domestic intelligence service. Neither do the Feldjäger, which are proper Military Police and hence Not The Wehrmacht.

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