Generally, if you are a commercially run organization or public structure (to include governments), you really don't want negative news....so you build up a strategy....instruct your members on how to handle negative news....and try to be silent over anything and everything.
There are bits and pieces coming out of Koln this morning, via different news sites, which talks of a strategy by the authorities of the city to early-on.....control....the negative nature of the events of the 31st.
Out of Focus (the German magazine), there were regional instructions of a stern nature to shut down commentary or information on offenses by refugees.
The odd thing is that the city mayor (Reker) was not even told the entire story of the events on the evening of the 31st....until a day or two later. No one says much over how far up the instructions were determined and sanctioned. That's one of the odd pieces of the story. Reker even hints (whether truthful or not) that she got the first indication of trouble from the news media....not the police department.
Why silence? The only offered explanation is that extremists groups who were anti-immigrant....would take the sexual assault reports and capitalize on them. I sat and pondered upon this for a while....three German states having elections in mid-March....what would turn public opinion against Merkel's policy, the CDU and the SPD? A couple of robbery reports? No. A hundred sexual assault reports? Yes.
My own suspicion is that this was not a policy developed within the police leadership itself....it had to come from some state-level office or authority....by-passing the mayor and the city council.
Maybe if there'd been only a dozen sexual assaults in Koln.....this silence strategy would have worked and the cops could have safely kept the knowledge from the public.....thus ensuring no plus-up for the anti-immigrant theme in the March elections.
At the federal level, the head of the Interior Ministry (De Maiziere) said in a weekend interview with Bild that refugee backgrounds cannot be concealed in actions like this. One gets the opinion through comments that he's made....that you can't start a silence policy like this without getting yourself deeper and deeper into a mistrust issue with the public. The regular German sitting in a pub will eventually reach a point where he asks what is going on and just how corrupt are the authorities. You can't start a policy like this.....without consequences.
So, this brings me to an odd question, to apply across sixteen German states, and a thousand German cities and towns. Are there other sexual assaults of a immigrant nature that have occurred and been left out of the local or regional news coverage? How much control have the cops used to silence news? Maybe Koln is the sole episode? Maybe not. That's the thing.....you now end up with this lack of transparency phobia.
Over the next week, I expect several state-run news chat forums to occur. The topic is one that you can already guess. Germans will sit and listen to various characters cover the different angles, and the silence strategy will be brought up.
My humble guess is that from the rank-and-file of cops across Germany....when they figured out the silence strategy....they were disgusted and were part of the downfall of the Koln strategy, and the firing of the local police chief. When you continue see bits and pieces of stories handed straight to the press from an anonymous source, the source can only be a cop who got fed up with silence.
The bottom line? Somewhere in the national structure of politics....someone is worried over the three March state elections in Germany. They can probably accept a ten-percent vote for AfD, as a frustration vote and just live with that outcome. They can't accept this sexual assault topic getting into the election and triggering higher outcomes (like 15-to-20 percent for AfD). As much as this was an immigrant issue on the evening of the 31st....it's now turned into a second issue.....authorities trying to contain negative news and control the outcome of elections. One was bad enough.....the other just makes regular people frustrated.