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21 Dec, 2018 14:49

Berlin police chief creates ‘safety feeling’, but fears to jog outside own office, colleagues say

Berlin police chief creates ‘safety feeling’, but fears to jog outside own office, colleagues say

The head of Berlin police publicly claimed the German capital has become more secure, but media reports said not quite – at least outside the official’s own office where she doesn’t jog fearing for her safety.

Barbara Slowik, chief of the German capital police, tried her best to ensure the public that the 3.7-million city is in safe hands. She told the Die Zeit newspaper that security situation was appalling when she was appointed as the head of Berlin police department.

READ MORE: Berlin to set up ‘safety area’ for women during New Year’s Eve celebrations

Now, things have changed after police deployed mobile patrols to various public places, she claimed, adding, “I intentionally created the feeling of safety.”

“This was a deliberate measure to ensure that safety feeling,” Slowik reiterated, “so that citizens and tourists know – police are here watching.” The comment looked robust at a glance, but then something went wrong.

Also on rt.com Berlin police cadets have trouble with German language, says academy head

Shortly after Die Zeit interview was published, an unofficial officers’ association called ‘Independents in the police’ (Unabhaengige in der Polizei) went online, saying in a tweet: “Incredible. Slowik is afraid of going jogging in Tempelhof [Berlin’s district] right outside the [police] headquarters, but swaggers publicly about safety feeling.”

The tweet, posted by a police officer, was subsequently removed and the Berlin police department issued an angry response, saying: “Beware of enjoying ‘independent’ sources! Our president [Slowik] was surprised [to learn] that these arbitrary allegations were distributed through you.”

The police chief “likes to go out everywhere in this city, also alone and at any time,” they said.

But the Twitter exchange encouraged some media outlets to dig deeper into the story. Tagesspiegel reported “multiple officers” have told the newspaper the police chief indeed doesn’t feel safe in the vicinity of her office. Slowik reportedly admitted to“a close circle of her personal staff” that jogging outside police headquarters wasn’t a good idea and that “something could happen to her.”

READ MORE: ‘You have to call it by name’: Merkel publicly admits ‘no-go areas’ in Germany

Berlin police department is no stranger to embarrassing blunders. Aside from PR failures, it emerged that a sizeable part of officer cadets in Berlin police academy have trouble using the German language.

Berlin police chief creates ‘safety feeling’, but fears to jog outside own office, colleagues say

Those trainees have “fundamental difficulties” writing in German without spelling or punctuation errors and are unable to produce well-written texts, according to the academy head. Part of the problem is that too much emphasis is placed on learning English to better interact with foreigners in such a frequently-visited tourist city like Berlin, the official explained.

Security is steadily becoming an issue in Germany, with reports on organized crime and “parallel societies” making headlines from time to time. Earlier this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly admitted there are “no-go areas” owned by immigrants, but stopped short of discussing violent crime among refugees.

Last year, Berlin police have created a special zone where women would feel safer during New Year’s Eve festivities. The measure was introduced on the back of mass sexual misconduct during country’s celebrations over the past few years. 

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