Police use of firearms in Germany

There was a very popular and successful German television crime show in Germany, Derrick. 281 episodes in almost 25 years, broadcasted in about 100 countries. The lead character was always portrayed by the same actor, and this lead character fired a total of about five shots with his handgun on people over the course of a quarter century.

This by almost all crime shows' standards extraordinarily non-violent manners were actually a drastic exaggeration of police violence in Germany - even more so compared to today's real world standards!

The actual use of firearms by almost a quarter million of German policemen, policing 80 million inhabitants of Germany, was much less.

Year 2013 German police statistics:
100 shots fired in context of persons, of which 41 were warning shots and 17 were aimed at material.
This leaves a grand total of 42 shots fired on people. This killed eight people and wounded 20. 38 were fired in an emergency situation, 4 were fired when a suspect attempted to flee (not hits).

42 shots fired on people in a year, among 80 million inhabitants. 
(German police hardly carries tasers or other electro shock tools!)

This statistic is not a one-off. We've had similar results for years (see same link or here for 2012).

Germans love when we've organised a problem down to a minimum, and no matter how uncomfortable it's to be on the receiving end of a submission technique applied by a police(wo)man, our society no doubt did organise (train) lethal violence by police(wo)men down to a minimum. This is something the nation can be proud of.



  1. This figure, while laudable, doesnt seem to be a specific German merit though. The UK too has very low levels of gun use by police and people harmed in context. Yes, they dont even issue guns standard practice to general duty police officers, so that might have a particular influence too. Though looking at say Australia, where guns are standard issue, and police generally has more of a "tough" image, again figures for firearm discharges, and people injured or killed in consequence are proportionally fairly low (bit higher than Germany, slightly lower than Canada). I dont know about figures in other European countries right away, though I suspect that Dutch, French or Danish cops are not exactly trigger-happy either. I would guess, that the only disproportionate stand-out in Western countries generally is likely going to be the US.

    1. The Americans don't know their real figure, though:

      The French gendarmerie may actually have a problem:

    2. I guess the French Police in "hotspots" have the same "problem" as their American counterparts: Worst first thinking.
      'Oh that [racially profiled(!)] suspect is behaving strangely [that is dangerously]. Better shoot him before he draws his [often nonexistant] weapon!'

      After having read through a lot of "law enforcement" comments regarding the recent stuff in the US at least that's what I came to conclude. This worst first thinking mixed with "I am the law" attitude is responsible for many incidents. But then in the US the ongoing militarization of police forces might be a whole other problem. Violent crime and actual violent resistance to law enforcement has been in [almost steep] decline for thirty (!) years now. But the simplest of arrests in buildings etc are now made by "SWAT" [technically only SW] teams, instead of two police officers walking to a door. Your article on "special forces" made me think a lot about the same happening in US law enforcement. Basic activities get relegated to "special units", which create "need" for themselves through their own actions.

  2. In contrast to this, US police have killed more than 5000 people since the 911 attacks. And these idiots think they're #1! (More like a giant pile of #2)

    This video is just one example of US cops total disregard for the people they are entrusted to protect: http://youtu.be/hM02kr5DwoE