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POLICE

Convicted rapist escapes during brewery visit

A convicted rapist has escaped from his guards while on a visit to a brewery in Cologne and is on the run, police said on Wednesday.

Convicted rapist escapes during brewery visit

Peter Breidenbach, 58, managed to give the guards from his prison in Aachen the slip at around 1.30pm on Wednesday, a police statement said.

Anyone who sees Breidenbach is advised not to speak to him, but to report the sighting by calling the emergency 110 number, police said.

The convict is around 188 centimetres tall (roughly 6'2″), slim and has a moustache.

Peter Breidenbach. Photo: Polizei Köln

He was wearing black combat boots, khaki cargo trousers and an unmarked blue military sweater.

Breidenbach is also diabetic who depends on insulin.

'Human error' to blame

A spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalia justice ministry told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (KStA) newspaper that Breidenbach managed to escape when he was escorted to the toilet by one of the two prison guards who were accompanying him on the trip.

Instead of remaining vigilant, the guard decided to relieve himself at the same time as Breidenbach – despite the fact that neither the toilet cabins nor the door were visible from the urinals.

The rapist was able simply to slip away without the man assigned to guard him noticing.

“This should not have been allowed to happen,” the spokesman told the KstA, saying that either the man who accompanied the prisoner into the toilet should have kept an eye on him, or the second officer should have been brought in.

Why was he allowed out?

Breidenbach was convicted of rape in conjunction with serious robbery and sexual coercion and sentenced to nine years' jail in 1991 – but has been in preventive custody since the end of his full jail sentence.

The brewery trip, tacked on to some shopping in his hometown, was his ninth excursion without handcuffs.

As a convict, he could “express wishes”, the interior ministry spokesman explained, although there are clear limits to what is allowed.

It is not yet known whether Breidenbach had planned the escape in advance or was simply quick to exploit the opportunity.

“He is believed to be extremely dangerous,” the spokesman said. “Anyone who sees him should inform the police”.

PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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