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Berlin Police seeks suitable junior staff


In two years' time, just under 19,000 police officers are to provide security and fight crime in Berlin. By 2030, the number is set to rise to 20,000.

More police presence on Berlin streets

Because of the growing city and the many new tasks, new recruitees are needed, police chief Barbara Slowik told the German Press Agenc (dpa). "In 2024, we will reach the first target, which was already set in the last legislative period. That will be about 18,900 police officers. But we will go further," she stressed. More police officers should be present and approachable on the city's streets, she said. There are also plans for more road traffic checks, more so-called contact area officers in the neighborhoods, more bicycle patrols and more crime fighting in certain areas. "For this, we need 20,000 police officers in the medium term, which we want to achieve by 2030."

Around 17 percent drop out of training

According to Slowik, 750 to 800 older police officers retire each year. At the same time, 1200 new recruitees start their police training each year. "Part of the truth, though, is that about 17 percent drop out of training or fail." A great many young people are applying, Slowik said, but "finding suitable applicants is becoming increasingly difficult." Things are looking good for the criminal police, she said, but for other sectors things are more problematic. The main problems of the applicants are poor German language skills and a lack of athleticism.

"Berlin is a city with lots of water and we can't afford to send police officers out on the street who are not able to rescue someone from a body of water because they can't swim well enough," Slowik explained. A good grasp of the German language, in turn, is absolutely essential in day-to-day work with laws and for writing reports, she said. The police offer support in this regard, she said, but this support "reaches its limits if it is not accepted."

Slowik proposes vocational school for "security"

Slowik suggested establishing a secondary vocational school (Oberstufenzentrum) with a focus on the security sector. Comparable schools for students from grade 10 to 13 already exist for different sectors such as finance, technology, and public administration. For careers in the field of "security," teaching priorities at schools could be German, political education, and sports. For the next generation of police officers and other similar fields of work, such a focus would already make sense in the upper grades of high school, Slowik said.

More security guards to become police officers

In the future, the Berlin Police also wants to recruit new officers from the group of security guards employed by the police. "There are many good workers there who know the police and have already had an insight into the professional field," the police chief explained. However, she said, the low training salaries are a problem because people working as property guards outside embassies and ministries often already have families to take care of. However, she said, the police want to make them "offers based on their previous salary."

Proportion of women in the police force to increase

Slowik wants to continue to increase the proportion of women in the police force. The percentage of female applicants is currently only at 31 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of female recruits is at 33 percent, which is due to the nearly 50 percent of young women who start out in the Criminal Investigation Department. In the uniformed police force, the proportion of women is well below 30 percent. "Because of the hours and the type of work, it's not always easy," Slowik acknowledged. The profession still has a rather masculine image among some people, she said, which is why some current campaigns are aimed specifically at women. "It is also important to address and convince parents and grandparents. Women in leadership positions who can serve as role models are key as well."

Author: dpa
Publication date: 27 January 2022
Last updated: 27 January 2022

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