Berlin’s police chief Barbara Slowik misses direct contact with many employees in the pandemic. “I miss that very much,” said Slowik of the German press agency. Before Corona, she was “out and about” a lot, for example visiting offices every Thursday and recording problems there unfiltered. A lot can now be discussed and clarified by telephone or video conference. “But we have to be very careful that we keep our cohesion – we as a society and we as the police need this cohesion.” The bonding cement must not be lost.
“Keeping close despite being at a distance – that is the task,” emphasized the 54-year-old, who has headed the agency with more than 26,000 employees since April 2018. However, this is not made easier by the duration of the contact restrictions. She appealed to the services to keep talking and not to withdraw if there were problems. She herself can always be approached, “but only at a distance,” said Slowik.
It is essential to keep checking whether the police are doing everything they can to contain the pandemic, said Slowik. Working hours from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. have been made more flexible, making a kind of “office sharing” possible. Employees had been equipped with protective masks and Plexiglas panes. “That shows success bit by bit.” Since November, the number of infections and quarantines has been reduced by about 50 percent, said the chief of police.
According to the latest decisions by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Ministers, it will be checked whether more colleagues could work from home. However, this is not possible with core tasks such as the radio vehicle emergency service, the riot police, the permanent criminal service or the SEK, emphasized the head of the authorities. In other areas, a home office rate of up to 35 percent has already been achieved at the top.