Some 80,000 German emergency personnel were while on duty during the past year, a new survey revealed on Saturday.
The Hannover-based RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) regional newspaper group looked at figures from the country’s 16 federal states. It showed that some , 1,000 firefighters and 2,100 rescue workers were attacked while on duty.
Experts suggest that the real number is higher, with many workers opting not to report the attacks they face.
What do the numbers say?
The survey suggests that the biggest number of violent incidents reported against emergency personnel was in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. Over 20,000 police officers were registered there as victims.
Some 795 police officers, 31 firefighters and 64 other rescue workers meanwhile sustained serious or dangerous bodily injury.
The state of Bavaria also ranked high, with 19,057 cases reported. They included 4,532 police officers who were victims of resistance, 5,364 of insult, and 6,502 of physical assault.
The figure is concerning, given that the number of police officers in the state was 34,204 in 2022. This means that over half of them were assaulted while on duty.
Fredericke Leuschner, an expert at the Centre for Criminology, a federal and state research institution, commented to the RND on what could be done to decrease these figures.
“Harsher punishments do not make sense because their deterrent effect is questionable,” said Leuschner. “These perpetrators are very often under the influence of alcohol and drugs or have mental illnesses.”
Instead, there are calls to protect emergency forces against such cases in the first place.
rmt/mm (epd, RND)