My rights

You may

  • Ask for the legal basis and the underlying facts for the police measure. The link must be your behaviour, not your appearance.
  • Contradict every single measure and have it recorded.
  • Demand the name and service card of a police(wo)man.
  • If civilians claim to belong to the police, insist on seeing the police ID.
  • Right to assistance: Assistance can be any person designated by the person affected by a measure and can only be refused if it proves to be absolutely unsuitable. You can act together with your adviser (no representation), which is also a good instrument if there are language problems or if you want to critically accompany the police control. The right gives you § 14 paragraph 4 sentence 1 Administrative Procedure Act (=Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz).

In case of arrest

  • You are obliged to provide information about your name, date of birth, place and country of birth, nationality, marital status and registration address. Do not make any further statements or statements!
  • You have the right to call a lawyer. (Emergency service of lawyers Leipzig: 0172 3641041)
  • You have the right to refuse any testimony, both before the police and before the prosecution or the court.
  • Don’t be intimidated! Sometimes the officers threaten you with deportation or promise to release you if you make statements. Don’t believe them: don’t do or sign a statement!
  • If things or money are confiscated from you, insist on getting a record. Do not sign this protocol.
  • If you are not released, you must be brought before the jugde by midnight of the next day at the latest, who will then decide on your further detention (release or pre-trial detention).
  • You have the right to an interpreter and to contact a trusted person.
  • Illegalised persons can be taken into deportation custody. However, pre-trial detention has priority, § 116b StPO.
  • If you are released and beaten or abused, go immediately to the doctor. Have your injuries attested to there.
  • You can lodge an official supervisory complaint with the police president of the federal state (in Leipzig: Landespolizeipräsidium -Wilhelm-Buck-Straße 2 01097 Dresden).
  • You do not have to comply with subpoenas from the police, whether as a witness or accused, unless they send them explicitly on behalf of the public prosecutor’s office. Only summonses from the public prosecutor’s office (also by the police) or court are obligatory.

What may the police do?

The police act on the legal basis of the Criminal Code (StGB), the Criminal Procedure Code (StPO) for criminal prosecution and the individual state laws on public safety (police law) for averting danger. They regulate what the police may do. If it violates this, it may also file a criminal complaint against a police officer. Although only 2% of the reported cases are prosecuted in these proceedings, they may have disciplinary consequences and are included in statistics. Make a criminal complaint (after consultation with a lawyer) within 3 months of the incident to the public prosecutor, not the police.

The police may do this if you are on foot and have not committed a crime (police law).

Identity verification: They may demand your identity card if you pose a danger or a disturbance. For this purpose, concrete and recognisable facts must be available. In so-called “dangerous places” (also weapons prohibition zone) it may do so, but there must still be some connection to the dangerousness of the place. They may not control simply arbitrarily or racist motivated (racial profiling), because that offends against the principle of equal treatment from art. 3 of the Grundgesetz. If your identity cannot be established, the police may take you to the office and take fingerprints and photos, as well as external characteristics (e.g. tattoos) to find out who you are.

Expulsion: She can expel you from a place for a few hours if you are a danger or a disturbance. For this purpose, concrete and recognizable facts must be available.

Detention: She may take you to a police station if a disturbance/hazard cannot be removed otherwise, if your identity cannot be established otherwise or if this is necessary to enforce a removal order. She must give you a reason and legal remedy and give you the opportunity to call a lawyer and a trusted person. Ask to see a doctor if you’re feeling bad.

Search people and things: You (including your clothes) and your belongings may be searched if you are allowed to be detained, your identity is to be established, you are in a “dangerous place” or facts indicate that you (1) want to commit a crime on endangered objects or (2) you are carrying belongings that may be seized. The person may only be searched by persons of the same sex or by doctors.

Confiscation: One of your things may be confiscated if it is necessary to remove a disturbance or if you are allowed to be detained. This also includes the confiscation of objects that are prohibited in the weapons prohibition zone. You must be issued with a certificate of this and the legal remedy must be made known.

On 1st of January 2020 the new Saxon police law comes into force. This gives the police considerably more powers and the numbers of the §§ will change. The listed possibilities of the police change slightly: Identity findings are possible in weapons prohibition zones directly and within the area, which is 30 km away from the Polish and Czech border.

The police may do this if you are suspected of a criminal offence (Code of Criminal Procedure).

Search of things and person (§ 102 StPO): You are only a suspect if there are actual indications or facts that you have committed a criminal offence.

Physical examination (§ 81a StPO): blood sampling, urine and sweat test. These are a serious encroachment on your physical integrity, may only be performed on one*r defendant and require the theoretical consent of a judge. To prove alcohol in the blood, however, this is not necessary. You are not obliged to blow, but to tolerate the blood draw.

As a non-suspicious person (§ 103 StPO), the police may only search you if there are facts that probably contribute to the arrest of a suspect or to the securing of evidence. e.g. if, before the eyes of the police, the object of a crime (committed by another person) would be inflicted on you.

Arrest of disturbers (§ 164 StPO): Whoever interferes with the prosecution of criminal offences or administrative offences can be taken into custody until the end of the official act (max. until the end of the next day).

How to behave in case of police violence?

If you become a victim of police violence

Attempts to stop the use of violence by deescalating behaviour. If that doesn’t help, scream your pain out to get attention from passing people.

Talk specifically to potential witnesses! Tell them your name and a phone number and please contact them later.

If you later want to defend yourself legally against police violence (§ 340 StGB), the police will most likely report you for resistance (§ 113 StGB). Consult the advice of a lawyer.

If you become a witness of police violence

  • Make yourself available to those affected as a witness. Please bystanders to do the same. CopWatch LE has internal witness cards that you can pick up from us.
  • Inform the person concerned of their rights.
  • Offer your assistance.
  • In the event of an arrest, ask for the name and address of the person being arrested.

In any case

If you become a victim or witness of an arrest or (racist) police assault, record the incident as accurately as possible in a memory log:

  • Place and time of the incident, actions observed
  • the reasons given for the police action
  • Personal descriptions, contacts to other witnesses.
  • Service and helmet numbers of the civil servants inside
  • Police car plates.

If you have any questions, would like to report the case or need assistance, please contact or It is important that we document the case, even anonymously. You can also write to us in encrypted form.