Increased security at German rail stations put pressure on police: report

The increased deployment of the Federal Police at railway stations had led to restrictions and burden in other areas of the police authority, according to a response by the German Ministry for the Interior to an inquiry by Green Party parliamentarian Irene Mihalic, Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday.

In order to increase the presence of police at “relevant” railway stations, individual police stations “would also be strengthened with association police support staff”, the interior ministry noted in the response.

“This can in particular have effects on the support of other users, periods of service, the strength of the leadership groups or staff as well as on training and further education,” it said.

Against this background, Mihalic called on German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) to reconsider the deployment of federal police at the German-Austrian border.

“It would be important for the Interior Minister to explain how he would like to ensure a permanent and nationwide presence of police officers without bringing them to the border,” Mihalic told the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Following a recent deadly attack involving an eight-year-old boy at Frankfurt’s main railway station, police had announced that it would further increase protection against violent crimes in the area of the railway facilities with a stronger and more visible presence.

“In addition, the subjective feeling of security of the users of the railway is to be strengthened,” police announced at the beginning of August.

The interior ministry in its response said the increased police presence would be achieved by “adjusting the local and temporal priorities of the responsible federal police departments”.

The selection of the priority railway stations had been made by German federal police departments “on the basis of the number of passengers and the importance of the station for rail traffic”, it said.

At the end of July, a 40-year-old man pushed a mother and her eight-year-old son in front of an incoming ICE train at Frankfurt main station. The mother was able to save herself, but the boy was run over and killed.

Following the attack, Seehofer said he would be striving for “top-level talks” to discuss technical possibilities for improving safety with the German Ministry of Transport and Deutsche Bahn.

“We urgently need more police presence,” said Seehofer, while called for increased video surveillance in public space.

Joerg Radek, deputy chairman of the German police union (GdP) had warned that such “horrible crimes” could not be prevented by more police presence.

Instead, German police union deputy Radek called for a discussion on “the installation of technical barriers that would allow access to tracks only after the train has stopped”.