29 German police officers have been suspended for sharing pictures of Adolf Hitler and depictions of refugees in gas chambers on their phones.
Officers also used right-wing extremist chat rooms where swastikas and other Nazi symbols were shared, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) officials said.
NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul said it was a “disgrace to NRW police”.
This follows several other cases of right-wing extremism among the German security services.
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More than 200 police officers were involved in raids at 34 police stations and private homes linked to 11 main suspects. Officers are said to have shared more than 100 neo-Nazi photos in WhatsApp groups.
Some of the suspects face charges of spreading Nazi propaganda and hate speech. Others are accused of not reporting on the actions of their colleagues.
“This is the worst and most repulsive kind of hate bait,” Reul said, adding that he expected the investigation to find more offensive chats.
“I am appalled and ashamed,” said Frank Richter, the police chief in the city of Essen, where most of the suspects were based. “It’s hard to find words.”
Sir. Reul has now launched an investigation into the extent of extremism among state police.
“Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have absolutely no place in the police in North Rhine-Westphalia, our police,” he said, and the authorities had to show a “crystal clear political profile” that rejected right-wing extremism.
Germany’s police and security services have faced accusations that they are not doing enough to eradicate extremists within their ranks.
In July, prosecutors said they had arrested a former police officer and his wife who are suspected of sending threats to celebrities with immigrant backgrounds, including several ethnic Turkish lawmakers.
The scandal has already seen Hesse State Police Chief Udo Münch retire after it emerged that police computers were being used to find out details about a left-wing politician who later received one of the threatening emails.