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CDU floats 'private sheriffs' idea to tackle big city crime

The Local · 11 May 2011, 15:41

Published: 11 May 2011 15:41 GMT+02:00

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The idea was put forward by the party in a position paper seen by the Berliner Zeitung newspaper as it reported on Wednesday.

The privately engaged neighbourhood 'sheriffs' would not have any particular rights, but would be able to encourage order and cleanliness, the paper said. There was no mention of how they would be funded or what the difference to municipal Ordungsamt officials would be.

“Through their constant presence, they could quickly become respected and valued contact people in the neighbourhoods for smaller and bigger problems,” the paper said.

They would be deployed in problem areas where criminality was reducing quality of life for normal citizens.

It was not acceptable that young criminals and violence-prone youths, “put whole districts in fear and dread,” the paper – from among others CDU general secretary Hermann Gröhe and the party’s candidate for mayor in Berlin, Frank Henkel.

The proposal comes after several high-profile incidents of violence at metro stations in big cities.

But the police officers’ union immediately shot down the proposal, calling it unacceptable. The suggestion was just a, “renewed, helpless attempt of politicians to cover up the glaring lack of personnel among the police,” said Bernhard Witthaut, chairman of the GdP union on Wednesday.

He said people wanted, “competent contacts, who can act at any time and without delay,” and only the police were able to provide this.

Story continues below…

The CDU proposal was an easily recognised tranquillizer pill for the public, he said, pointing out that thousands of police force jobs had been cut over the last few years and seemed set to continue.

“Politicians have thrown away much trust from within the population and the police,” he said.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

22:08 May 11, 2011 by nemo999
A private police force? I do not think that this idea is that new to Germany. I believe that it was tried in the 1930, I think they members of the force were dressed in brown.
22:15 May 11, 2011 by wxman
I see your point nemo999, but this isn't the same thing as the SA. Those thugs were not authorized by the Weimar government, they were vigilantees. This is just another layer of law enforcement, like the old "beat cop" in the US, to maintain order on neighborhood streets back in the day.
01:50 May 12, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
More like the Chinese block spies.....never a good idea to privatize armies..I mean police....
09:09 May 12, 2011 by ATM
No this is not like the beat cops in the US. Beat Cops were/are actually policeman assigned to certain neighborhoods and communities. This attempt by the government is their failure to fund the police department and strategically deploy police in high crime areas.
09:29 May 12, 2011 by Angry Ami
How about this idea,

pay cops more, hire cops with immigrant backgrounds from the same problem neighborhoods, and stiffer penalties for crime, e.g., loooooooonnnnngggg

jail sentences.
11:16 May 12, 2011 by Raminder Dhillon
haha this is an idea of someone who grew up watching cowboy movies. Boy the CDU must be really missing their biggest role model.Sheriff George Bush.
13:34 May 12, 2011 by scrambledhelix
You might be angry, Ami, but that's no reason to actually extend the penalties for crime. Crime happens, no matter how many cops or how strict the penalties. The US has ridiculously longs sentencing for relatively less aggressive crimes, but do you see it actually helping any?

Police presence is a more salient issue, and I'd agree that cutting into the existing officer's wages or employment is a bad idea. But Bavaria's actual crime rate is so damn low, it's easy to forget how effective the status quo is when the occasional sensational crime does happen.

Don't be a knee-jerk.
13:37 May 12, 2011 by Englishted
They should look into the F.D.P. and find the C.V. cheats doctors and all.
14:32 May 12, 2011 by tech71
private "Sheriffs" with no particular powers or rights but capable of a good finger waggling scolding! They are going to so get their butts kicked
08:39 May 17, 2011 by Outlander
Hey I know! We should privatise the entire police force and then pay them only on commission.
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