After incidents in Essen and Gelsenkirchen Why security services are at work in Bonn outdoor pools
Bonn · Violent conflicts have recently occurred in several outdoor swimming pools in NRW. Do similar problems exist in Bonn and the region? If so, what is being done about them?
The Römerbad in Bonn on Wednesday afternoon. It is hot, the outdoor pool is full of people cooling off in the water or enjoying the sun on the grassy area. The atmosphere is good - until suddenly a group of about ten men approaches a single man who is also lying on his towel. Along with them, they have a girl about eight years old. The leader of the group speaks to the man: "What have you done to my sister?", before he suddenly slaps him in the face, followed by a punch. Then the men disappear again.
In many cases, no complaint is made
This is how a student from Bonn, who observed what happened, described it to the GA on Thursday. "Security people immediately came and questioned me," he reports. The police had not been called. He had agreed to testify as a witness if a criminal complaint was filed. "However, the security staff thought that in such cases the victims usually did not file a complaint at all.”
And that would probably also be case in this instance, because at least until Thursday noon no complaint had been received by Bonn police. "Often we are not called at all", spokesman Michael Beyer confirms in responding to a GA inquiry. The police are only called when victims want to file criminal charges, feel endangered or when the pool rules have to be enforced. This happened last Sunday, when five people made trouble in the Hardtberg pool and, when they were expelled from the pool by security guards, fought vehemently against them and later also against the police officers.
In this case, criminal charges were filed by the police. It was the only major incident of this kind in the current outdoor swimming pool season known to Beyer. "At least on the basis of the number of operations in this area, we cannot find any major problems, not even an increase in the number of criminal offenses or inappropriate behavior," he says.
In other outdoor swimming pools in the region, security personnel are also used, but not permanently. In Sankt Augustin, according to city spokeswoman Eva Stocksiefen, "there is selective and on-demand cooperation with a security company, for example when certain groups cause disturbances or uninvited visitors at night not only swim but also make trouble". There have not been any serious criminal offenses in the Sankt Augustin outdoor swimming pool.
Since 2017, a security service has also been deployed at the Bornheim outdoor pool during the summer holidays, as spokesman Rainer Schumann explained. "At irregular intervals, the staff go on patrols, five times a day, primarily to enhance the general feeling of security," says Schumann. A few years ago, there was an incident in the vicinity of the outdoor swimming pool in which citizens allegedly prevented a rape. The task of the security guards is primarily to deter: they want to prevent crimes whenever possible.
Knife attack in Gelsenkirchen, attacks in Essen
While the situation in the outdoor swimming pools in Bonn and the region is described as mostly calm, elsewhere in North Rhine-Westphalia cases of criminal offenses have recently been increasing. In Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday evening, a 23-year-old was attacked with a knife in the "Sportparadies" outdoor swimming pool, suffering life-threatening injuries. On Tuesday there was a mass brawl at a french fries stand at a pool in Haltern. In Essen, the number of security guards was doubled after attacks on lifeguards and a twelve-year-old girl. In Cologne, too, security has been in place for years in all eight outdoor swimming pools.
The chairman of the Federal Association of Swimming Supervisors, Peter Harzheim, told our editors that "the behavior of some swimmers has been getting worse and worse for about ten to 15 years now". The Federal Association of the Security Industry (BDSW) confirms the increased demand for security personnel for outdoor swimming pools. "The subjective perception of safety has diminished in recent years. More and more often people feel uncomfortable and insecure in everyday situations", association spokeswoman Silke Wollmann explains. "The propensity to violence in our society has increased noticeably. Conflicts escalate more and more often," she says.
Isabel Klotz from the city of Bonn also sees a "general social problem". Authorities, in this case also pool personnel, are not respected. "Occasionally there have always been incidents, even in the past years and decades - but not to the same extent as in Essen, for example," says Klotz. Orig. text: Christian Schwerdtfeger, Anna Maria Beekes