In the city of Essen in western Germany, the police have had a special operation against clan crime for almost two years.
During a traffic check in northern Essen, police commissioner Bernd Stratmann and his colleagues have just stopped a Mercedes AMG, a car that they know is popular with high-ranking members of the city’s criminal families.
– We are looking for the heavyweights of the clans and the higher up in the hierarchy, the more expensive the cars, says Bernd Stratmann, who works one week a month in the Essen police’s special organization against criminal clans.
In the operation, they check intensively and repeat everything where they know that the family-based criminal networks exist or have activities. These are betting offices, hookah cafes and bars.
In periods, areas have been pointed out as particularly dangerous and it has then been possible to control people without a clear reason, a special prosecutor only deals with clan cases.
It is an extensive project, which has received large resources for a long time, but it has also had an effect, the police claim. Neighborhoods where the clans claimed to own the street have become calmer, according to both the police and those who live there.
Bernd Stratmann has been a police officer for more than 30 years and he saw the criminal extended families grow stronger. For a long time, politicians closed their eyes to the problem, it was so sensitive and no one wanted to be accused of racism, says the police commissioner,
– The result is that we have a subculture that we do not get in order with our usual means, says Bernd Stratmann.
Several of the large families in the Essen area have branches to the clans that are now being discussed in Sweden and Swedish police have been to Essen to study the working methods here. When the news came, that criminals set up roadblocks in areas in Gothenburg, it resonated all the way here.
– I thought that the development in Sweden seems to have come a few years further than with us, says Police Commissioner Bernd Stratmann.