Straßensozialarbeit in Berlin

Theses (from the view of street work)

Theses (from the view of street work)
“A clear demarcation between social work and police prevention discussions with ready for violence youths seems meaningful, not to lose sight the different vocational orders.”
“If no consequences are drawn on criminally relevant behaviours not at all, consciousness for injustice will get lost. Social work looses credibility, if it does not point out it’s borders.”
Even if professionals from the domain of police and social work have increasingly understood that the conditions for a constructional dialogue in a first unconditional acknowledgment of the respective fields are to be searched, so the new gained understanding in the concrete work won’t be less uncomplicated at first.
In their euphoria about the beginning of dialogue, representatives of both professions have redefined themselves: Social workers, in particular street workers, call themselves as “social rambos” and policemen as “armed street workers”.
In the report „S-Railway children“, the policeman in civilian clothes of the criminal investigation police “youth violence group” (co-worker of the attached „operational group of“ division 4) is introduced by the speaker of the transmission by calling him an – „ armed street worker”, since they and their colleagues are often called like that:
„We are primarily policemen and if criminal offences happen, then we also intervene; … we visit the youths like street workers, we talk with them like street workers; … we are there, where the youths are; only that we intervene, when criminal offences occur.“
There is a risk that social workers are being identified as policemen as well as a new generation of policemen. These policemen, committed to their social consciencepoint out, that social supply would make some requests for police operations superfluous. Besides this, social workers endeavoured with new roles in the course of reunification of Germany. (The western German police is western social workers well-known from the “anti-imperialistic house fight” and the eastern German social worker exclusive as “friends and helpers”). An analysis of points of contact and demarcation is necessary; meetings dealing with topics such as the sensible intersection between social work and police, are necessary.

On the basis of different task und vocational fields, the relationship of youth work and police is being characterised (punish-determining and/or punish-pursuing institutions) and is distinguished as in other fields of social work by normal fears of involvement. The vocational field demarcation results not only from different work contents, but at the same time from the principle of the division of power of a democratic state and from the constitution of the FRG.
The demarcation of the fields of work results concretely from the social requirements as well as regulations (e.g. criminal code) and according to conditioned internal structures (e.g. command authority, legality principle versus principle of voluntaries).
The fear of involvement and reservation result above all, where the different tasks and vocational fields build up interfaces with its “common work article” (target group). At these interfaces collide objectively different views, value conceptions and standards, as well as partially contrary methods and ways of work. But the task setting of the police, order tasks and public and political security tasks, danger prevention and prosecution, alleged concepts „on youth work by the police“ mark their limits. Youth work should be implemented on long-term basis on contrary to concepts of the police.
„Youth work by the police“ is mostly short term this becomes in the film already mentioned „S-Railway children“ among other things clearly, where the policeman, representing „the operational group“ says: „We are drove there, to the first discussions and introduced ourselves; we wanted to keep the youths primarily away from the street and we proposed to search for a facility for them. Depiate of some attempts: They reject the facility, they wanted rather to be at the S-Railway, because they do not stand there under supervision.“
Besides the ambivalence of the “often involuntary meeting on the streets” and the sensitivity of the slowly growing bond of trust between groups of youths and social workers resulted in a relationship between street workers and policemen which ca be discribed critical, dissociated and controversial.
Starting from our target groups (see appendix 1) and in interest of an effective suppot for our youths – precisely in the sense of detection of their identity – is the social work oblige to participate during the elaboration of the dialogue model between social work and police and to refer at last to society-critical positions.
In particular „the concept or the strategy of fire-brigade financing of youth work with preventive objectives…, which became from now on to the financing form of the youth work and helped install order-political control functions” forces to work on the police prevention programs run by the police.
The “prevention promises” and the required „diagnoses“ for „the prevention funds“ (endangerment profiles and sociological reasons for its causes), which not only youth workers are ready to fulfill, but (particularly in professional adventure area east) a whole set of sociologist, led and lead beside a contentwise also to a formal (legal, finance and personnel-technical) approximation to „a police program to danger prevention“. Or to an „overall strategy of violence prevention“ (SPI)?
To americanise the conditions of the youth work – youth work an yoth welfare services reduced to danger prevention – is a process, which doesn’t obviously lead to prevention programms and/or special programs.
The criminal prosecution institutions force the responsible of social educationally oriented prevention to more than to demand the right to refuse to give evidence. (“Also forms of emotional entrusting such as shit cops don’t obviously solve the problem.”)
Social work, conscious of its social alibi functions, wanted itself to retain “total demarcation of the police”. Doing this just as if this were an own „last“ alibi – social work wanted to retain a sphere of social independence („untouchability“). Instead of this, social work must go with clear positions and demands into an offensive dialogue! In order to extend in the dialogue with the criminal prosecution authorities, the clearance for preventive socio-educational measures as well as the following basic conditions are necessary:

Social workers are no policemen and policeman no social workers!
„They must be differentiated: The police does not have social competence. We are to prevent criminal offences, what is really difficult, and we are to clear up criminal offences (Int. 4.5:7)“
(1) A condition is the acknowledgment of different vocational fields and the identity keeping of the respective social sphere.
(2) Everyone is in his section active, that means: Social workers do not operate prosecution and policemen don’t carry out social work.
(3) Within the domain of the socio-educational provision for young people there is a distinction between the police prevention and socio-educational prevention with reference to the work contents and role model. The limits is to be drawn, where the means are being misused (e.g. build up trustful bond for the purpose of undercover investigation youths activity scenes, etc.). The conceptual of police prevention and socio-educational prevention are to be formulated clearly and be clearly distinguished, clearly from each other in theory and practice.
It’s not a problem, that the police expands its work wit the youth, that they try to come in contact with them, neither is it any more a problem for social workers, that policemen accompany youth work in order to prevent crimes.
It’s no problem, that police prevention patrols shall give the feeling of order and security. It’s no problem, that the police declares conscious or unconscious their actions done by „friends and helpers”, as „social conflict management“ or lead by „modern social competence“ (understanding, accessibility, rapid conflict resolution strategies against other groups, partially called as national authority in crise situations etc.).
A problem could arise, if police from their own point of view reduce the social work to merely police prevention/police conflict management and evaluation and so begins to bother youth work. Problem occurs, if this order and safety-political strategies can’t lead to long-term successes. The inevitably paradoxically running process for the appropriate police units covers itself with the experiences of the social workers, that the police under covered investigating activity in groups of youths plays an important role already in the structuring phase of the bond of trust.
„Police and youth work are particularly opposed in their procedures. With the establishment of contact with remarkable groups of youths for example the police orients itself particularly to „the group leaders “, in order to transact arrangements. The police promises itself a firmness of the arrangements, since it assumes these people exert the necessary influence on the entire grouping. The „ leader of the group of youths“ sees hereby this role in the group confirmed by these police contacts.“
Purposefully and by police means, the informant of the police will be incorporated in the guidance circle of the gang.
With the morale requirement on a common request for the well-being of the clique (usually consciously against another existing group), the personal promise on „omitted investigating activity“ (legally not covered opportunity principle, “you wants the best, you are nonetheless one of us”) and a mixture of friendship, action and confidence, above all however with the knowledge of provable criminal offences, with valuable information about the “opposing” groupings and later for the alleged protection of his own grouping, are recommended.
(4) Socio-educational prevention and police prevention (legality principle of criminal-prosecution institutions) exclude themselves in their immediacy. Creation of confidence and prosecution/prepretator search exclude themselves from the target group.
„The often proclaimed common goal of street work and police “prevention” does not comply with the reality. Between the prevention terms of police and social work a clear demarcation is necessary. Police prevention means the prevention of criminal offences. Educational prevention refers among other things to the stabilization of the juveniles, improvement of living conditions and dismantling of disadvantages.”
(5) Both social work and police define their own interest, their own limits, accept others limits definition in each case and discuss in equal dialogue about interesting and transnational problems.
Starting from the basic conditions of the desired dialogue and the knowledge around different weighting of the fields, their objectives and methodical realisation forms, the promotion of positive living conditions for the youths and the prevention of stranger hostileness and violence glorification, violence and criminality are common goals. A common goal is also to refer to social deficiencies and coherences as well as to create socio-political and social basic conditions and lastly prevent all form of extremism.

Youth social work is interested with following intentions and objectives in a dialogue with the police:
Social work and police want to prevent avoidable conflicts between police and youths, in addition, between police and social workers.
Social workers are in lawyer function for youths. In this sense, they introduce youth social work projects, concepts, methods and long-term goals of their work, and are aspired to sensitize criminal prosecution institutions (also officials in the „normal“ police service) for social problem situations of the youths (presentation of the career profile/“creation of social awareness” – creation of social consciousness).
(2) Even if there are substantially more policemen than social workers, who are concerned with our target group, various and long-term concepts and forms of socio-educational prevention and necessary intervention of police prevention as well as intervention should precede.
For the police is the knowledge of the effective area of the street workers meaningful, in order not to question the success of the educational and deescalating work of the street work teams locally through unauthorized, premature and disproportionate police intervention.
(3) The scope for preventive socio-educational measures extends with the decrease of early and inadequate repressive police measures. Dieter Both and Andreas Klose of the fan project Berlin describe the opposite tendencies as follows:
„The increasing reinforcement of police prediminary work does not remain without effects on groups of youths. Disconcerted and irritated, but also annoyed about continuing monitoring, they are very being witdrawn frequently from the occupied social areas and reallocate their activities to new areas. …. Important informal structures within the groups of youths can be set repealed, with a destruction of internal order samples. So seen police prevention can perhaps even promote the radicalization of the youth groups and complicate the possibilities of entrance of social help. Since police prevention is focused on all youths, the impression can be obtained, only from the fact to be a youth, represents a security risk.
(4) An early, hasty stigmatisation and criminalisation of the youths by the criminal prosecution institutions can be among other things prevented, by increasing the work against the spiral of lower criminally relevant offences and appropriate punishing as well as probation editions (no pursuit of low criminally relevant offences, e.g. Tagger, raid “illegal clique meetings”, drug problems etc.…). This concerns clearly a change of the criminal law and not only make the opportunity principle flexible (comparable with things like irregularities).
(5) Police is interested to signal not-specific police responsibility and functions and to surrender to other social institutions. Why shouldn’t the police plead for their own interest to support the social areas and their institutions?
Some statements prove that the dialogue set in Berlin brought out first successes. After the representative of the LKA 143, Wolfgang Zirk, referred to an increasing juvenile violence acts and to quite entitled concerns, he expresses a further concern:
„The 160 employees of the LKAs, who are concerned with youths, pursue the present savings discussion of Berlin senate with concern. Particularly with the likewise rise in gang criminality, the senate would have contributed to promoted mechanisms such as Gangway or Kick to decriminalise the gangs. If the budget is being cut here, the LKA employees fear a further increase in juvenile delinquencies.
“In the program Tip TV at the end of March 1996, W. Zirk expresses, the reprimanded has been proven by expressions of the new Senator of the Interiors Schönbohm in the “Tagesspiegel”.
„Hereby is being focused to stop these crimes. I think, the care work has a very important function. I cannot actually imagine a prevention in the youth scene, without care work of proven social organizations and proven individual social workers.
A further example should try to show that the police in their intensions of work organisation department-exceeding thinks and consciously seek for dialogue with social workers:
„A housing estate in the Schlangenbader street in Berlin Wilmersdorf lead … Zirk as an example also for residential environment-conditioned aggression and readiness of violence of many youths. … The only youth’s meeting point was until recently a tea room, in which the public became threaten, after 1991 someone was being staged near the tea room. The not concerned ones withdrew themselves into the niches of the plant, into long dark corridors and scared inhabitants partly so far that they finally engaged private safety enterprises. When the police began to organize their work in this quarter department-exceeding and with the cooperation of social workers, it succeeded to reduce the youth-specific violence in the “Schlangenbader” street.”
(6) The police must accept that youth work with their target group excludes information exchange between social work and police locally. (Information exchange in this context is the passing on of person and group-related data.) Constant contacts between social workers and police locally (also in the context of institutionalized working groups) harm the bond of trust between social workers and young people (see appendix 2).
(7) No institutionalisation and personalisation of common projects (any form of hierachy) on police prevention and socio-educational prevention! No transmission of these tasks to a third party!
The Berlin execution law of KJHG of 09.05.1995 confirms:
§ 18 support of the police, information of the youth welfare office
„(1) the youth welfare office helps the police authority with the perception of police tasks to advise and support the protection of minors and fight against drug abuse as well as the juvenile delinquencies. The police reports the youth welfare office in cases, in which measure are take against minors or the problem of round table.
At present all problem-specific meetings, seminars or panels, round tables, department-exeeding teams etc. to prevent violence, crime xenophobia are being promoted in Germany, in order to develop prevention models and approaches.
These rounds tables have only one problem: They are completely unsuitable for the practical and concrete dialogue/co-operation! They are suited to workshops for a scientific conference, also for a common declaration of intention in the framework or a common advanced training seminar, especially for the preparing discussions on dialogue model. In the everyday work – burr measurers for a functioning dialogue and/or an equal cooperation – are useless.
Also the transmission of this task to a third party (see coordination office of youth work and youth welfare services/police) is not to be endorsed, since a subject-referred interest penetration appears realistic only on direct dialogue level.
The connecting link in this dialogue is related to area of knowledge, the problem and the person.
Moreover using ‘round tables’ one runs the risk (round tables are called “network” in Scandinavia and the Netherlands) of jointly scrutinizing the clients”, the “transparent client” (Meeting in Bremen in 1996). They are suspected to be a body for controlling the compliance with commonly agreed or fixed tasks misused (Meeting, BAST, Linz 1996) and seem to be apt to become a “plaything for party-political decision-making bodies.( Meeting Nürnberg 1996)
For all further discussions about ‚round tables’ questions concerning the modalities of decision and resolution making, the control and communication stages as well as the number of voluntary participants will be crucial.
Youth social work has to reject attempt to become part of the tool kit of the preliminary criminal proceedings and prosecution.
(8) Social work requires the appropriateness of police means. Early and constant police observation, a form of police prevention, leads to hasty stigmatisation of the youths (problem/aggressions). To fingerprint and fotograph/or to bring forward young people (so to say pressing and checking) are to be accomplished correctly. No permanent police presence, where social workers could and can act too etc. The police will save a multiplicity of police patrols and appropriate finances and staff. No unjustified police encroachments against minors.
The independent commission for the prevention and fight against violence in Berlin gave a number of important recommendations, to which young people and social workers in everyday practice should refer to:
„Guideline: Young people are to be able to behave themselves appropriately, unintimidated and fearless towards the police.”
(f) The procedure of the police should not aim of dissolving or a smashing of the youth scenes and groups. This could lead to negative misalignment processes, a fall of the youths into individual-remarkable behaviours.
Guideline: It must be prevented that contacts between the youths and the police officers proceed without confrontation. Contacts should be deescalating and not provokativ.
(g) In the criminal police processing and with the prevention-oriented and caring work locally the employment of more experienced, and/or particularly trained civil servant is desirable.
(j) As far as this is possible, should be it done without „martial“ manners and so-called „combat uniforms“.
Guideline: Police acting should be consequent, especially if it concerns the youths, but the principle of proportion is to be considered in a special way in all stages of executive activity aligned to de-escalation.
(9) The necessity for prosecution by the police is also accepted within the difficult youths scenes. Social work assumes police prevention is a type of police function. Police prevention can mean, if already taken place, among other things reference to the importance, taken up and recognising officially treated youths to social offers and local projects. Police prevention within the youth range refrains from all forms of under-covered investigating activities.
(10) Social workers are interested in information about work contents and methods as well as internal structures of the criminal-determining and criminal-pursuing institutions with the goal of gaining understanding for certain processes.
(11) On the other side youth social workers request independence in their work towards the criminal-pursuing and criminal-legal level (among other things they request for the right to refuse to give evidence), to signal the limit of their work.
In the street work there are limited situations, e.g. planed armed hostilities between youth groups, which cannot be prevented through street workers. In such exceptional cases the street workers consider it necessary to switch on to the protection and knowledge of the youths police. In these cases the street workers aren’t concentrated on prosecution, but on the de-escalating conflicts due to the presence of the police. (Crimes against humanity, murder and other heavy crimes build up the limitation.)
Not general cooperation, but a problem- and more business-oriented, time, resort and personal dialogue stands in the fore.

Dialogue model
1. The leaders of the respective institutions install a contact and/or communication model, which makes possible, to react flexible limitation situations. Intermediate necessarily becoming contacts are realized on leading level
2. Common meetings in the framework of training, further training and seminars.
3. Contact of the respective institutions in case of technical and specialized-political questions to the leading levels.
4. No direct contact to street workers and policemen locally.
Each contact must be transparent to the youths!