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Action and Integration in Ottakring

Action and Integration in Ottakring

CopStories, Episode 1: A Viennese taxi driver who hates foreigners pulls up in in front of his apartment building in Ottakring, positioned just so as to prevent his new Muslim neighbours from moving in with their baby grand piano. Someone calls the police. The officers from the Kreitnergasse station show up and talk to the […]

Those Who Can’t Shoot, Tase

Those Who Can’t Shoot, Tase

Harald Vilimsky, Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader, writhed on the ground, screaming and wincing in pain, as two police officers towered over him. “The whole body is in a state of ‘hypertension’. You can’t move. You’re no longer in control of yourself. You are in fact paralysed for five seconds,” he reported after experiencing 50,000 […]

Frisked for Nothing

The night was warm and the fog hung low over Schwedenplatz as I drunkenly passed out cigarettes to a group of African men I had become aquainted with only moments before. As I dug for my lighter, a black car sped around the corner, sending my new friends running in all directions. Plain clothes police […]

Caught In The Act

Caught In The Act

It’s a familiar scene in Vienna: Officers of the so-called foreigners’ police (Fremdenpolizei) take action against asylum seekers or illegal refugees, while anti-deportation activists stand by documenting the procedure on hand-held cameras. The police don’t like it, but what can they do? Plenty, it seems. In a dramatic recent case involving a family with a […]

Portly Police

Portly Police

As Britain debates swingeing cuts to the police budget, commentators lament that the famous “thin blue line” of officers protecting the public from harm is growing thinner. But the slimming of the force may also take a more literal shape following the Winsor Review, a 1,000-page independent assessment of police pay and conditions published in […]

Policing Sexism

Police officers are there to serve and protect. Some do neither. Last month the VR reported on the Viennese police’s dismal record on racism (Your Friend and Helper? VR Feb 2012, p.4). But sexism may also be a problem. To uphold the law is one thing, but to apply a personal bias – racism, sexism, […]

Your Friend and Helper?

Vienna’s police have a dismal record of racism, and the courts aren’t doing much to change it. Yet, there are signs of change.

Rising violent crime

Violent crime and cyber crime increased last year, whereas burglaries and car theft declined, the Ministry of Interior announced. In 2011, the ministry recorded an increase in murders, and in complaints about malicious injuries and rape. A steep rise in cyber crime was also noted, with 5,100 complaints in 2011, compared to 600 in 2002. […]

An Abridged History of Violence: Notable Cases of Abuse by the Austrian Police

May 1999 Markus Omofuma The 25-year-old Nigerian suffocates after being bound and gagged by Austrian immigration police on a deportation flight to Sofia, Bulgaria, a procedure that investigations later reveal was common. The three police officers responsible receive suspended sentences for causing death through negligence. They are allowed to continue in service. April/May 2000 Richard […]

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