Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated two articles from Bild about the horrendous conditions under which German police are currently working in the cities of Hamburg and Bremen, plus an overview of the current crisis of violence against the police.
First, from Hamburg:
We stick out our necks for €1800 a month
It was an orgy of violence against the police: about a thousand totally unleashed blackhoods raged in street battles. They threw stones, bottles, heavy firecrackers — and injured fifty police officers.
Christin Richter (24, police sergeant 1st class, €1800 [circa $2500] net per month) experienced one of her toughest missions so far: “We were targeted with bottles thrown from balconies. Once deployed, you must leave out all your emotions. But the fear comes afterwards, when you think about it and see the pictures.”
The policewoman is angry: “We are used as targets for political objectives. And for rioters to get their kicks. I would hope that they’d show a bit more respect. As police officers, we are not empty shells, but personalities. Nice people who also have a family.”
Malte Griese (24, Police sergeant, €1800 net) was hit by a bottle: “Suddenly I felt a burning pain, blood ran down my neck. I had to be taken to the hospital. Fortunately, the cuts were not very deep. One wonders what goes on in their heads to do this!”
Pophal Frank (36, Police Sergeant first class, €2000 net, has children): “They threw pieces of broken mirrors at us like Frisbees. The atmosphere at such operations is becoming increasingly aggressive, the inhibition level ever lower. “
It’s hard to grasp, but the left-wing politician Christiane Schneider (61) [a Socialist, in the eighties a supporter of the left-wing terror organization Rote Armee Fraktion, favors the protection of illegal migrants and is now on the Hamburg city council for “Die Linke”, the political successor of the DDR] blamed the cops for the excesses during the riots. She spoke of “unprovoked police violence” against “peaceful demonstrators” and called a special meeting about the “excessive use” of violence … by the police.
Joachim Lenders, National Deputy Chairman of the German Police Union: “The statements of Mrs. Schneider are totally unreal. Our police only respond to attacks of violence!”
Violence in Bremen against police officers
The incidents are piling up, and the attacks are becoming increasingly brutal. Police officers on their many missions have to fear for their lives.
[Bremen-Osterholz] In the past year alone there were over 350 attacks on police and judicial officials. This is an upward trend. Recent examples: In the Züricher Straße, a German Turk (22) jumped on a policewoman and hit her with a targeted Kung-Fu kick in the back. She had only come to mediate in a family dispute. She suffered severe bruises, and had to be medically treated.
Two days later in Vahr [North-East Bremen]. A policewoman (27) wanted to establish the identity of a drunk (37). The man beat her till she was an invalid.
[Bremen-Gröpelingen] Fear travels along on patrol. A horrible culmination was the attack on a Police car in Gröpelingen, West-Bremen. Four teenagers (14-16) tried to murder two policemen with Molotov cocktails.
[Bremen-Oslebshausen] Police spokeswoman Franka Haedke (31): “Our opponents are ever more disrespectful and aggressive.” Two days ago, officers on patrol in Oslebshausen had to bring an offender to jail. Haedke: “When my colleagues went to the apartment, they were insulted and threatened by the whole family. A fight was narrowly avoided.”
Who are the perpetrators? A police spokesman: “Often these are Germans with an immigrant background.. A third of the violent offenders are drunk or stoned (on drugs).”
A summary of the general situation for German police:
Police as victims of violence
German law enforcement is increasingly forced to defend itself against attacks. In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Schleswig-Holstein, and Hamburg, the number of so-called acts of resistance to law enforcement soared to record highs in 2008, as disclosed by police-unions and ministries.
Also in other German states some dramatic increases are being reported. “Our colleagues are grappling with the brutalization of society,” said the chairman of the Gewerkschaft der Polizei (GdP) [Police Union], Jörg Müller.
According to the GdP, in North Rhine-Westphalia during the past year there were more than 6000 cases of “resistance to law enforcement officials,” as the West German Allgemeine Zeitung reported. This was a record: since 1998 (3200 cases) the number of assaults has nearly doubled. This figure includes attacks on judicial officers and bailiffs.
In other states a similar trend is noted: in Schleswig-Holstein in 2008 there was a record number of 713 acts of resistance against the police alone; in the previous year there were 545. In Hamburg, the number increased by 40% to 1153 cases.
“For the most minor events, there is no halt to it,” said the deputy GdP chief Uwe Kossel. This happens to patrolmen as well as police officers during demonstrations or football matches. “Even around the Reeperbahn [red light district in Hamburg] every weekend we are presented with the whole circus,” Uwe Kossel said. Though it now “only concerns violence” there. In Berlin there is an average of nine attacks on policemen every day. Union members in eastern and southern Germany also complain about the increasing violence against their police colleagues.
What will the consequences be?
In response, the police unions call for drastic sentencing: “It cannot be that an attack on policemen is punished with a fine or up to two years in prison. That is like poaching,” said the vice-chairman federal-DPolG Joachim Lenders. The Hamburg Interior Senator Christopher Ahlhaus announced that at the next Interior conference in June sentencing will be an issue.