Crime and rubbish are a problem City of Bonn wants to be safer and cleaner

Bonn · The city of Bonn has presented a concept for more security and cleanliness. For 1.8 million Euro a year, it wants to deploy high-tech and more staff to patrol in plain clothes and in remote locations.

 The city of Bonn wants to strengthen the patrols of the public order service. At the GABI police station, the police and public order office are already working together until late at night.

The city of Bonn wants to strengthen the patrols of the public order service. At the GABI police station, the police and public order office are already working together until late at night.

Foto: Nicolas Ottersbach

The city leadership wants to make Bonn safer, tidier and cleaner. To this end, it has now presented a concept that also incorporates suggestions from citizens. For example, the public order office is to increase patrols in future and, with more staff, be able to punish offences, such as parking or littering, more consistently. A private security service is to provide "Old Town Guides" to ensure peace and quiet in the evenings. Artificial intelligence also plays a role: the city wants to use speed cameras to monitor places where there are frequent problems. The costs amount to around 1.8 million Euro per year.

There has never been a public order campaign of this kind before, as presented by Ralf Bockshecker, Head of Citizens' Services, at a press conference on Tuesday. The concept comprises five points, which the city council is due to decide on at the end of August. The aim is to create 20 new jobs by 2026 to take on the new tasks.

■ Presence is the most important component. "We don't have enough time for on-call duties to visit locations outside of the normal deployment volume due to control centre orders," says Bockshecker. That's why he wants to deploy an additional double patrol in the early and late shifts, which will visit various locations throughout the city, as planned in advance. "That can sometimes be in plain clothes." Because: "We often experience a game of cat and mouse. If we're called out because it's too loud, it quietens down as soon as you see uniforms. Once we've gone, it continues."

■ The "Old Town Guides" are a pilot project: at weekends, a private security service is to be permanently on site in the evening hours to act "primarily as a moderating contact". "They won't be security guards in black clothing, but people dressed normally and in a friendly manner," says Bockshecker. If a situation escalates, the police and security forces can still be called in.

■ The city wants to use digitalisation to become more efficient, and not just internally. It wants to trial the use of speed cameras, which will be set up in places where there are a lot of noise complaints or vandalism, for example. "AI software sounds the alarm and sends an email to the control centre if there are too many people there for too long," explains Bockshecker. This would save unnecessary emergency journeys.

■ The independent "Waste Investigation Service" is intended to find out who is dumping litter in private and public spaces. The city assumes that it will refinance itself through the fines collected more quickly. At the same time, it is expected that the increased presence of law enforcement officers - especially in civilian clothes - will ensure that people no longer litter the city carelessly, be it with cigarette butts or dog faeces.

■ Traffic monitoring is to be reorganised. Parking on footpaths and cycle paths or blocking escape routes have become more important. "We will organise the traffic field service in a separate department," says Bockshecker. This will also involve a permanent bicycle squadron. Once they have undergone appropriate training, traffic wardens will also be able to punish other offences such as dogs off the lead.

The fines office finds itself in a dilemma, as Sascha Hessenbruch, head of the public order office, explains. "We are constantly scratching the statute of limitations of three months." To ensure that fines leave the authority more quickly, the aim is to deploy more staff and to campaign for the introduction of owner liability. "The proceedings take longer because we first have to find the person who caused the offence," he says. In other EU countries, this is much quicker thanks to owner liability. In addition, appeals and enquiries have increased since the fines were raised.

■ The city estimates the costs at 87,000 Euro in 2024, around one million Euro for 2025 and around 1.5 million Euro from 2026. This includes ten positions for the patrol service, four for the waste investigation service, four for the fines office, one for administrative tasks and one head of the traffic field service. To date, the municipal police service has 105 posts, but not all of them are filled. In addition, 300,000 Euro per year are budgeted for material costs, which will also be used to pay for the speed camera and old town guide pilot projects. "We assume that around 80 per cent of the costs can be refinanced," says Bockshecker.

Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach/Translation: Mareike Graepel