Torsten schmidt walks toward the train station building. He turns to the right, opens the door to the men’s room and looks around. "Everything is fine here", the 35-year-old notes after also taking a look in the handicapped and women’s restrooms. Then he walks up the steps to the tracks. There his colleague harald scherbel is already waiting, he has looked around inside the station.
It is quiet along the tracks. Only a young man with a hood sits on one of the benches and drinks an energy drink. Schmidt and scherbel know that he is on the move in the drug milieu. But there is nothing they can do. "Right now he’s not doing anything illegal", says schmidt.
The security guards go back to the station forecourt and observe what is happening. On average, they go on patrol twice a week in kronach or the municipalities in the district. Both have been with the party since it was founded 15 years ago. Schmidt works full time as a mortician, scherbel is a wood engineer. "When my daughter was still in high school, there were regular problems at the train station", recalls the 56-year-old. He read about the security guard in the newspaper and wanted to get involved.
A female van
While the two report on their daily lives, a female delivery van with hungarian license plates turns into the driveway of the train station and comes to a stop on the drive way next to the parking spaces. Three men get out and talk frantically to each other. While one sits at the wheel, the other two try to push the car into park.
Schmidt and scherbel decided to get a better picture of the situation. While scherbel initially remains in the background, schmidt resolutely approaches the men and seeks to speak to them. All three can hardly speak german, one is talking on the phone by now. Schmidt shines his flashlight into the back of the car. There are no suspicious objects inside the car. Nevertheless, scherbel calls a patrol car over the police radio for assistance.
Almost at the same time as the police another car stops in front of the station. The men have called a friend to help push the car into the parking lot. The police take the personal details and check the vehicle registration document.
Strength of character is crucial
A few minutes later, the car is parked on the parking strip. The policemen are driving again. Everything in order. Scherbel and schmidt make their way to the state garden show grounds. "Kronach is very safe overall. After the christmas market, you can walk home with peace of mind," says schmidt, says schmidt. "Nevertheless, we will not be bored. We’re often on the road at times when nothing is expected, and then we find ourselves right in the middle of the action," recalls the 56-year-old, adds scherbel. The most important thing is to have a solid character. You have to be aware that you’re dealing with a clientele that you wouldn’t normally have anything to do with. "We are often verbally attacked. That’s why we have to be able to assert ourselves", woman schmidt.
All is quiet during the tour of the state garden show grounds. "There’s more going on here in the summer, reports scherbel. He and his colleague are convinced that they make the city a little safer through their patrols."Often a recurring group of offenders causes problems. Some delinquents now recognize us and run away when they see us", says schmidt. In scherbel’s opinion, the uniform is a decisive factor: "it brings us into contact with the police."
In the county, the security guard is active in nine of 18 municipalities
The security guard is not a vigilante group, but an addition to the police force. "To become a security guard, candidates must attend 40 training sessions, each of which lasts 45 minutes", explains gerhard anders, press spokesman for the kronach police department.
The training includes, among other things, radio training, basic legal knowledge, a first aid course and an overview of how the police are organized.
Before the training begins, there is first an aptitude test. "In a personal conversation, we can see whether someone is a candidate or not", says differently. They also check whether the applicants have a criminal record. "The requirements are german citizenship in the sense of the basic law and an entry age of 18 to 62 years." According to anders, the applicants must also be able to see and hear well, be mobile and have an appropriate appearance.
Active in nine out of 18 municipalities
In the kronach district, the security guard is active in nine of the 18 municipalities. "We ask if there is interest, then a decision must be made in the municipal council", reports differently. There are no costs for the municipalities, the security guard is financed by the state office of finance. The volunteers are not interested in money, but in strengthening the sense of security in kronach. "For the shifts the security guards get a lump-sum payment." During the three-hour shifts, the security guards are always on patrol in pairs. "They are equipped with a pepper spray and also have a radio with them that allows them to listen in on the police radio", anders reports. In their uniforms, they are authorized, among other things, to issue expulsions, carry out identity checks, detain offenders until the police arrive, and act in self-defense and emergency assistance for fellow human beings.
"The volunteers are deployed in places where they can take preventive action, but which are not so dangerous that police officers have to be on site all the time", announces the police prasidium upper franconia. The kronach security guard has five members. "We are currently training new volunteers in cooperation with the neustadt bei coburg police department", says differently. After completing training in february, the kronach security guard will therefore be strengthened by three new members.
Does the safety watch in upper franconia pay. In kronach, five volunteers are on duty.