The German city of Frankfurt has entirely dissolved its police special operations team after allegations of far-right extremism among its members in chat groups.
The Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) of Frankfurt, an elite police tactical unit, was disbanded by the city government this week after chats emerged revealing officers in the unit making allegedly far-right remarks and statements.
Altogether, 19 SEK officers, as well as a former SEK official, are under investigation for their alleged far-right sympathies, including 17 who are alleged to have shared content relating to the former National Socialist regime headed by Adolf Hitler, Deutsche Welle reports.
Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth commented on the situation with the SEK officers, saying that “Today we are initiating a fundamental restart for the SEK” and that there would be a large reorganization of the Special Operations Command.
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According to Interior Minister Bleuth, the chats uncovered were from 2016 and 2017. He also noted that while there would be a reorganisation, police special forces were still “indispensable.”
Nancy Faeser, group leader in the Hesse parliament for the leftist Social Democrats, suggested that Bleuth resign, saying: “Hesse needs not only a fundamental restart for the SEK, but above all at the head of the Interior Ministry.”
The populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, meanwhile, said that the dissolving of the entire SEK was unfair to those officers who had not taken part in the chats.
The case is not the first to see German police or military, particularly elite special units, accused of sympathies with allegedly far-right ideologies in recent years.
Last year, the German armed forces considered disbanding the elite Special Forces Command (KSK) military unit after similar allegations of far-right extremism among its ranks.
While one company of the unit, around 70 soldiers, was disbanded, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer rejected the idea of disbanding the entire special forces, which is often used in hostage situations abroad.
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