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Bavarian police go pantless in uniform protest

A German police union released a video to express frustration over the dearth of uniforms. It says a lack of respect for those in uniform is leaving cops in the southern state of Bavaria with their pants down.

Frustrated by endless wait times for out of stock uniforms, police in the southern German state of Bavaria have taken an unusual step to draw attention to their plight.

In a video released on YouTube and Instagram by the state chapter of the German Police Union (DPolG), two officers seated in a police cruiser ask one another, “How long have you been waiting?” replying four and six months respectively, before exiting their BMW to reveal that they are pantless.

Jürgen Köhnlein, chairman of the Bavarian DPolG then addresses the problem head on, saying that what seems like a bad April Fool’s joke is anything but, and nothing to laugh about, equating a chronic shortage of uniforms with lack of respect for officers.

“Bavaria’s police are ‘stripping bare’ and could literally be left standing without trousers,” says Köhlein, who highlights the fact that wait times for as many as 21 different uniform items — such as caps, jackets and pants — can take months if they are available at all.

The union is calling on the state Interior Ministry to rectify the problem immediately even if that means additional costs, noting that, “Since 2020, we have hardly been talking about shortcomings in the quality of uniforms, but rather a shortage in the availability of uniforms.”

Interior Ministry acknowledges problem, says fix is coming

An Interior Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday acknowledged the problem, pointing to supply chain disruptions. “The supply bottlenecks for uniform parts are a major annoyance for us.”

State officials say they will now take over delivery logistics themselves after procurement had been outsourced. Supply bottlenecks, said the Interior Ministry, had affected specialty trousers such as multi-purpose summer pants in particular.

Interior Ministry representatives pointed to the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine as further factors negatively impacting supply and delivery and claimed that a new logistics center would be operational in Bavaria by 2030, making the force less dependent on outside procurers.   

Despite the problem, the Ministry said State Police are in no way being kept from carrying out their duties, adding that other uniform elements could be used when specific pieces were unavailable.

Union Chairman Jürgen Köhnlein was less nonchalant, saying, “Right now it remains unclear whether the situation will improve or continue to deteriorate,” asking, “What impression must new recruits get when they are forced to complete their training in ‘civilian clothing’ rather than being provided with a uniform.”

Source: Dw

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