Bonn After the major check-ups during the past weeks, the Bonn police are now using video surveillance in the fight against street crime on the banks of the Rhine. Already this Friday the cameras will be in operation.
The police are now providing technical support for their recent large-scale operations on the banks of the Rhine. From this Friday, the police will use video surveillance along the entire Rhine promenade near the city centre. Police Commissioner Frank Hoever, Chief Police Director Andreas Koch and Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan will announce details on Friday morning. As information leaflets to the local residents show, the mobile cameras will initially be used on weekends over the next four weeks.
Since the beginning of the summer, the Bonn Rhine promenade in the section between Schänzchen and Zweiter Fährgasse has become a focal point for the police and the public order office. In addition to night-time noise caused by loud music, the police have also recorded offences such as drug offences and bodily injury. Local residents reported a latent threat.Since the end of June, the police reacted with a massive presence and hundreds of police officers. So far, more than 20 operations on weekends, more than 60 offences and just as many administrative offences, more than 1,300 identity checks, about 400 evictions, 20 arrests and almost 40 seizures of drugs, weapons or "tuned up" cars.
Police Commissioner Hoever announced tougher actionWhen he took office, Police Commissioner Hoever had already promised in an interview with the General-Anzeiger that he would take a tougher line towards the clientele on the banks of the Rhine. Threats and attacks against the officers by aggressive youths were not the least of the reasons for this.
With the first video surveillance of a public area in Bonn by the police, the authority follows examples from other cities. In Düsseldorf, for example, the colleagues there have already had their eyes on the Burgplatz and Bolkerstraße in the old town for some time with video cameras. The police headquarters in Duisburg, Dortmund, Aachen, Essen, Cologne and Mönchengladbach also rely on video surveillance in the fight against street crime.
The police are responsible for deciding on cameras
The basis for video surveillance is section 15 of the Police Act, which was modified accordingly in the current legislative period. This allows the use of cameras even where "predicted crimes of considerable importance can be committed". One condition is that in the places in question "repeated offences have been committed and the nature of the place favours the commission of offences" - which, given the state of affairs and in view of the past few weeks, should certainly apply to the Rhine promenade. The decision on the use of video cameras remains with the police - and not with the city authorities.
So far, cameras in Bonn are only available in buses and trains of the Stadtwerke (SWB) or at selected stops, in the main station or on municipal properties such as around the townhouse. In Dortmund, however, the police had to remove video cameras in one street this year after residents saw their personal rights violated and successfully sued in the Higher Administrative Court.
(Original text: Rüdiger Franz, Translation: Mareike Graepel)