An unsecured mobile phone, alcohol after the appraisal and a dinner at a collegial level: State police chief Stefanie Hinz described in detail the processes involved in the so-called police affair from her point of view in the investigative committee in the Stuttgart state parliament - and sees no omissions on her part. On Monday, she also defended herself against allegations that she wanted to protect the accused police inspector by not having his private cell phone secured for evidence. There was no legal reason for this, Hinz said in the committee. With a backup of the mobile phone, possible correspondence could have been viewed and evaluated.
A legal examination has shown that securing private mobile phones would not have been proportionate and therefore inadmissible, Hinz now said. The "Stuttgarter Nachrichten" and the "Stuttgarter Zeitung" had previously reported that Hinz may have contributed to the police inspector being able to destroy important evidence because his private cell phone - which he used mostly for communication - was not secured. It seems clear that he also used the private phone for work: Hinz herself said that she perceived that she mostly communicated with the inspector via his private cell phone.
The committee deals with sexual harassment in state authorities, promotion practices in the police and with the passing on of a lawyer's letter by Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU). According to investigations, a police inspector who has since been suspended is said to have sexually harassed a police officer in November 2021.
Hinz now explained that the accused had handed in his official technology - as well as his weapon. In addition, the details of the employee concerned and a recording of a conversation that the employee had had with the inspector were available and secured. There was no risk of loss of evidence.
Interior Minister Strobl was also under pressure because of the matter - according to his own statements, he had passed on a letter from the inspector's lawyer to a journalist. The investigations against Strobl were stopped against payment of a monetary condition.
The incident of sexual harassment is said to have happened on the evening of November 12, 2021 - after a staff meeting between the inspector and the police officer concerned in preparation for an assessment center. Hinz himself came later, after the official part of the conversation, and alcohol was also drunk. "But everything in moderation," said Hinz. She drank a glass of champagne and was there for about 45 minutes. "Against the background of the really far-reaching consequences for the employee - believe me - that I very often questioned this evening and what happened there." Hinz went to another interview - the inspector and the employee stayed, then the incident is said to have happened.
A little later, the police officer confided in a colleague and she expressly wanted to talk to Hinz about the matter. Investigations against the inspector of police were initiated; he was forbidden to continue the official business.
After the allegations became known, there were five other complaints about the man - one of them was anonymous and in writing. She doesn't know whether these cases are similar, says Hinz. In her opinion, one case that she knew of was not criminally relevant. Did this also happen in an official context? If she remembers correctly, it was "at the end of the day," says the chief of police after a long thought.
The committee is also concerned with whether the accused inspector was right to his post. Hinz said he was very well suited because of his experience and skills. And she says that both have known each other since around 2010, later there was also a private dinner with her husband and the wife of the inspector of police. We worked very well and collegially together, but we weren't friends.
The last direct contact was on November 22, 2021. "He sent me an SMS, which is also in the files," said Hinz. You never answered. Out of concern, she found out about other employees how he was doing.