Bad Godesberg During the Corona pandemic, the public order office has become busier and busier - also in Bad Godesberg. Last year alone, 11,823 police operations were carried out in the southern district of Bonn. In the process, the staff repeatedly encounter dicey situations.
Especially during the pandemic, the public order office of the city of Bonn has a very special and important role to play in the fabric of the city: the employees monitor compliance with the Corona Protection Ordinance and carry out various checks in the city area, including of course in Bad Godesberg. The FDP, however, wanted to know more, which is why they sent a comprehensive questionnaire to the city administration: The questionnaire covered all the marginal and operational data of the public order office. According to the Free Democrats, the graffiti on the drinking pavilion of the town hall last Walpurgis Night triggered the question.
Two permanent employees of the public order office in Bad Godesberg
Now the detailed answer of the city administration is available, which reveals many details about the work of the public order office in the southern district of Bonn. According to the administration, "There are two employees for each of the city districts who carry out investigative activities in the district service, such as determining addresses, establishing identities and the like". This service also carries out site inspections for violations reported by citizens. "As a rule, the employees of the district service only work during the day, i.e. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.," the administration continued. Exceptions would only be made in "special situations". These include, for example, attending scenes and intervention operations together with the Bonn police, on New Year's Eve or at other large events.
City police department wants to work more preventively in the future
The remaining forces are deployed throughout the city, so that there are no special forces for the individual districts within the framework of the daily patrol service. The advantage of this is that it ensures "greater flexibility" in the face of changing events. Nevertheless, the city police service wants to change the way it works in the future: From their point of view, it would make sense to take preventive action, independent of the "processing of requests", in order to avoid problem situations from the beginning. "This task is to be tackled more intensively in the near future. To this end, an exchange is taking place within the city administration, in particular also with the participation of the personnel administration," says the city administration.
11,823 operations in Bad Godesberg in 2020
In 2019, the Public Order Office had 19,975 deployments, of which 5473 were in Bad Godesberg. Last year, the law enforcement officers were called to 11 823 operations within Bad Godesberg (in total, there were 31 445 operations in Bonn). "Due to the Corona pandemic, there have been numerous deployments, also in the Godesberg city area. During the shutdown, more checks were carried out in the respective core areas of the city districts/pedestrian zones, such as mask and quarantine checks," the administration said.
The public order office is not able to drive to some places of operation
In its list of questions, the FDP also asks whether the public order office can handle all the events reported in Bad Godesberg. The city administration answers in the negative, even if it does not make it so clear. "Due to the current staffing level, it is not always possible to process all reported incidents immediately, especially during large-scale incidents and in the busy summer months, as well as due to the Corona pandemic," the administration explains.
This also leads to operations being handed over to the police. So far, "no major problems" have arisen in the cooperation with the police, as this also takes place at the management levels. But: Improvements are "always possible", which is why the corresponding evaluation process is "constantly being monitored". Especially when there is a very high volume of operations, especially in summer and during the holiday season, it can happen that there is a long delay or that the location cannot be approached at all. "Open assignments - regularly in double figures on weekends - have to be closed at the end of service and/or handed over to the police," the administration says.
Public order office feels Corona pandemic very clearly
The Corona crisis also plays a role in the questionnaire and how it affects the Public Order Office. According to the city administration, the pandemic has led to a shift in tasks. For (at) the present, the focus is on compliance with the Corona Protection Ordinance. "In particular, the gathering of groups of people and the use of sports facilities are increased occasions for deployment. Overall, it can be said that the number of deployments has increased considerably," the administration said.
Emergency forces encounter "increased verbal aggression"
The city's emergency services have noticed an "increased verbal aggression" and a "clearly reduced acceptance of the fact that people are committing offences". In addition, there would also be an increase in complaints from citizens about "subjectively perceived, unjustified intervention". In addition, at present, certain locations are only approached "in conjunction with the police". The city administration does not get more specific. When asked, Andrea Schulte from the municipal press office explains that it is not a question of the location itself, but rather the reason for the intervention. "It is indisputable that there are culturally determined differences in behaviour. In addition to the well-known extended families and so-called clique structures, there are also larger group formations in certain population groups," the administration further explains in the statement.
The fact that not all employees of the public order office are equipped with protective jacket and multi-purpose batons depends on the distribution of tasks. "Not all employees of the Public Order Office are also employees of the City Public Order Service and not all employees of the City Public Order Service are law enforcement officers of the Public Order Field Service," says Andrea Schulte, "simply put: all employees wear the uniform of the Public Order Office but have different tasks and responsibilities."
Municipality establishes new staff unit for crime prevention
So far, however, there are no "recognisable trends or early warning indicators" in Bad Godesberg. Since the beginning of the year, the administration has been in the process of setting up a "staff unit for municipal crime prevention and public safety". Together with other offices - internal as well as external - the staff unit is to support, for example, the city's public order service with the strategic handling of security problems in public spaces.
(Orig.text: Maximilian Mühlens / Translation: Mareike Graepel)