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Berlin: Just Another Day at the Police Department

Because of the ongoing summer holidays, the situation in Berlin is relatively quiet. Still, the police are busy. These are the cases the BPD had to deal with within a 24 hour period this past weekend.

Berlin, August 1st, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — The Berlin Police Department has as many as 26,000 employees, including trainees. Running it costs about 1.5 billion Euro (1.53 billion U.S. Dollars or 1.26 billion Pounds Sterling) per year. Police Chief Barbara Slowik heads a rather big organization. There are five precincts that are responsible for several boroughs each.

Variations of Crime

Within Berlin’s police, the State Office of Criminal Investigations deals with all variations of crime. There are several other departments including the Guard Service. Its task is to guard buildings, memorials and other places, including all Jewish establishments. Seventy-seven years after the end of the Holocaust, this is still necessary because antisemitism is spreading again.

The ‘Direktion Einsatz/Verkehr’ (Administration for Operations and Traffic) is the largest part of the Berlin Police Department, and the most visible one, because it deals with cases many of which the public is informed about. It has several sub-departments, including the Water Police, the K9 Department, the bicycle squad, the Helicopter Unit and the Traffic Department.

New Arson Case

These are some of the cases the officers involved had to deal with this past weekend: On Sunday morning at 3:40 a.m., a passer-by noticed smoke that was coming out of a truck parked in Weserstrasse in Berlin’s Neukölln district. While the Fire Department extinguished the flames, which completely destroyed the vehicle, the Berlin Police Department got a new arson case to work on.

Barbara Slowik heads the Berlin Police Department. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Just a few hours earlier, officers were called to the scene of an accident. Two ladies who had been moving along Schönhauser Allee on an electric scooter, a vehicle made for one person, were involved in the crash. At 10:40 p.m. on Saturday, the 32-year-old woman who was driving it lost control and hit a parked vehicle. Her 51-year-old passenger sustained a serious leg injury and was taken to a hospital. The police officers on site noticed the 32-year-old smelled of alcohol, which is why she was taken into custody temporarily. She turned out to be intoxicated.

Stabbed at Mauerpark

Another few hours earlier, on Saturday afternoon, 100 police officers were sent to Kladow. In Grimmelshausenstrasse, a resident had heard shots inside a single-family house. When the police arrived, a 28-year old man who lived there threatened to use explosives. Then, he left the house through one of the windows and climbed onto the roof. At about 5:30 p.m., officers succeeded in convincing him to surrender. He was arrested and driven to a hospital. This was where he was taken to the psychatric ward. During a search in the man’s house, drugs, pyrotechnical products and other suspicious items were found.

The police in Berlin are busy all the time. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

On Saturday night, the police were confronted with another alarming case. In Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg borough, a 17-year-old who was walking through Mauerpark got into an argument with a large group of people and ran away. In the early morning hours on Sunday, he met some members of the same group. He said they attacked, beat and kicked him. Then, he noticed he had been stabbed with a knife as well. The young man was taken to a hospital. So far, officers found the knife that may have been used in the attack.

Attack in Friedrichshain

In the meantime, an argument about a woman turned violent in Rochowstrasse, which is part of the German capital’s Friedrichshain bourough. One man was hit on his head with a club. When the police found him, he was bleeding badly. Later, they also tracked down the suspected culprit who said the victim had tried to attack him with a knife. The investigation is ongoing.

Another arson attack on vehicles was registered in Lichtenberg. And, on Saturday afternoon, a 21-tourist on an electric scooter collided with a car on Wilhelmstrasse and sustained injuries on her head and arms.

Arrested at Ostbahnhof

In Prenzlauer Berg, a case of aggravated battery was called in on Saturday night. According to the victim, racism was involved. At the ‘S-Bahn’ train station Greifswalder Strasse, a 25-year old man ordered a cab using an app on his smart phone. He told the police the vehicle’s driver had insulted him with racist statements and ordered him to get out of the vehicle. Then, he had sprayed irritant gas into his face before driving away. The State Office of Criminal Investigations is on the case.

In Berlin, the police also deal with 5,000 protests per year. Some of them are violent. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

In the meantime, a 55-year old homeless man was attacked near Berlin Central Station. Two men beat and kicked him. The victim sustained serious injuries in his face and was taken to a hospital. Since the attackers could be seen on video footage of the incident, they were identified by the Federal Police at Ostbahnhof station, arrested and turned over to the BPD. All of this is only a fraction of what the Berlin police had to deal with on this past summer holiday weekend in late July of 2022.

Three Police Forces

Because of its status at the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, the BPD is not the only police in Berlin. The Bundestag has its own police force. It often cooperates with the Federal Police because making sure the parliament and the government are safe is important. The Federal Police is also responsible for major train stations and BER Airport in neighboring Brandenburg.

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