In the event of a fire or accident, they are the first to be there: employees from the fire brigade, police and rescue services. In doing so, they repeatedly become victims of violent attacks themselves. The fire brigade is now in favor of a consistent pursuit of the perpetrators.

The German Fire Brigade Association warns of a tough crackdown on attacks on emergency services. “The state must ensure that fire brigades, but also rescue services and the police, as representatives of the state, are not attacked without severe penalties,” said association president Karl-Heinz Banse. “The laws allow it.”

Everything is already settled. “We don’t need harsher penalties. I just want those penalties to be enforced. I want judgments to be made,” Banse said. “It is unacceptable that our people are endangered, almost run over and afterwards it is presented as a petty crime.”

According to an overview by the Ministry of the Interior in Saxony, more than 100 members of the fire brigade and rescue services were victims of a crime between 2015 and 2021. In the first half of the year there were 32 crimes. In Bavaria, the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) and the Johanniter reported a noticeable decline. However, official figures for 2022 are not yet available. The internal statistics listed fewer cases than in the two previous years, said BRK spokesman Sohrab Taheri-Sohi.

Banse complained about increasing disrespect for emergency services. “Respect for those who help others should increase again.” This is not least important for motivating volunteers. “Who is willing to take part anywhere if they have to expect to be spat on at the scene,” said the association chairman.

According to Banse, emergency services are also being hindered in their work by onlookers. “We know that we sometimes have fewer emergency services. But today, in almost every operation, you have to turn off additional forces to prevent onlookers from getting too close to the scene.” According to him, in the event of accidents on federal roads or motorways, two to three rescuers are needed to stretch tarpaulins as privacy screens. “This is to prevent onlookers from taking pictures. That’s a problem.”