Increased police presence in front of Cologne’s main train station © Oliver Berg
After the incidents on New Year’s Eve, Cologne police pastor Monika Weinmann appealed for understanding for the emergency forces. "The police officers feel here, as in other places, as a plaything of politics.", she said in Cologne.
Policemen and policewomen are the ones who have to take the blame for undesirable developments in society, Weinmann added to the Catholic News Agency. "This must have political consequences and concerns less the individual police officer on the street."
Integration should move again into the center
Now the focus should be on the question of successful integration, not on the police, according to the Protestant pastor. In addition, there is an urgent need for an understanding of the values, norms and behaviors that apply here, which then need to be consistently protected.
Police officers frequently complain about staff cuts and overwork, Weinmann continued. "When such crisis situations arise, there is little capacity to spontaneously increase the police presence."So far, no police officer has turned to her as a pastor. As a rule, such events would first be followed up tactically internally.
Ballooning of existing problems
Ultimately, the incidents represented a balling of existing problems, the chaplain said. "Disrespect for officers or non-recognition of the German rule of law in the form of the police officer is not a new phenomenon of New Year’s Eve, but rather something that police officers are familiar with."This is especially true in confrontations with men from other cultures. "Female police officers in particular have an even harder time getting respect from this clientele," Weinmann said. Here, not even the uniform helps to override existing gender images.
The chaplain also called for measures to combat organized crime and to enforce swift deportation in the case of criminal acts and tougher penalties for offenders. "Just as important is an integration policy that gives people the opportunity to participate in education and to find a home."
Concern for safety of police officers on carnival days
In her own words, the police chaplain looks forward to the carnival days with concern. "My Catholic colleague Rainer Durscheid and I have a suspicion that Carnival will be a very difficult operational situation for the police," the pastor explained. Certainly, all forces would be pulled together to significantly increase the police presence. Likewise, video surveillance will be strengthened. "The internal police preparations will be in full swing until Carnival."