Angela Merkel: “What is brewing up there?” Asks a police officer


Bun-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) held a citizens’ dialogue with police officers on Monday. The Chancellor and the officials were connected by video conference. In the online conversation, the Chancellor answered questions from police officers, but also asked them about their everyday work in the pandemic.

Some police officers reported what they believed to be an increasing propensity for violence among the population. A police officer from Berlin noted, for example, an increase in the willingness to use violence among people who protest against the measures taken by the federal and state governments to contain the pandemic.

“It is important that the regulation and standards are reliable,” he said. Because even citizens who are ready in principle to abide by the rules are often not exactly in the picture about what is currently valid.

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A police director from Essen confirmed this impression. He expressed his concerns in view of the sometimes violent protests against the Corona measures. “What is brewing there, what is growing there?” He asked.

He saw pictures like the last one from Leipzig with great concern. “You are spat at by people who say they have Corona, certificates of convenience are shown and no masks are worn. That does a lot to the colleagues on site, ”said the policeman. He wondered what would happen in the future.

“That is dramatic”

Another policewoman also reported violence against the police in connection with the enforcement of Corona regulations. The young police officer Lorena Grube from Osterode in Harz cited an example of an operation in Göttingen in June that made headlines across Germany. There the corona virus broke out in a residential complex with 700 residents, many of them of Romanian descent.

The building should be quarantined and cordoned off. About a third of the residents tried to storm this barrier. “We were pelted with glass bottles and bricks,” said Grube. A stone hit her in the hand, breaking her center finder. Demonstrators from left circles had also gathered in front of the house and applauded the outbreak of violence. “Yes, that is dramatic,” said Merkel.

Other police officers demanded clear and precise measures. The sometimes very quickly changing corona restrictions, which also differ at the state level and in cities, presented citizens and police officers alike with great challenges.

Gerke Stüven, head of the police commissioner in Wildeshausen in Lower Saxony, said that “it is difficult for us as the police to work with appeals and recommendations”. The officers needed a “legally secure room to act”, otherwise they would not be entitled to enter properties, for example, to enforce contact restrictions.

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A police officer from Thuringia said that, since the beginning of the pandemic, he had heard sentences like “I don’t want to do your job at the moment”.

An officer from the Harz also pointed out the risk of infection for police officers. She would therefore like more corona tests for police officers, who are often forced to get physically close to other people on duty, during searches, arrests or when someone offers resistance.

“We know what you can do for us”

Beyond Covid-19, the police also addressed the current debate on racism and right-wing extremism in the police force. A police officer from Erfurt said that since these were only isolated cases, one had to proceed in a targeted manner in combating this phenomenon and not lump everyone together. Merkel emphasized that she had “done everything especially to ensure that there was no general suspicion”.

She called for people to “treat each other with care” and campaigned for political consensus. In the Corona crisis, some people have “worries that this will drag on forever” and that rights should be permanently restricted. You can assure: “That is not the case.”

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Fear of secret powers

At the end she thanked the police officers for their commitment: “We know what you are doing and what you are doing for us. It is an extraordinary time, a state of emergency that we have not known for a long time. ”She also spoke out for more community spirit and said:“ Many citizens stick to the rules. I ask everyone to remember that police officers are also people with fundamental rights, families, worries and fears. We have to treat each other carefully, with all the freedoms we enjoy in this country. “

The online conversation was the penultimate round of talks between the Chancellor and citizens. In the past few weeks there have already been discussions about the situation in training and nursing. An exchange with students is planned for another meeting with Merkel in this format.

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