Police officers practice shooting

Lorch (dpa / lhe) - During the "box drill", the police officers of the raid squad stand close together. They hold their G38 rifles close to their bodies, the first officer in line to aim the gun and shoot - before running back to the rear position. In terrorist situations or rampages, it is important that the colleagues move safely in the formation, explained Denis Altvater from the Frankfurt raid command. In order to ensure that the processes are correct in an emergency, the Hessian police will in future be able to practice the use of firearms at a freshly modernized open-air facility in Lorch in the Rheingau.

The state government had the shooting range brought up to date with around three million euros. The 25-meter facility can now also be used to practice with vehicles in order to realistically practice the use of medium-range weapons such as the G38, as the Interior Ministry announced on Monday. 1500 of these weapons have been delivered since spring 2020. The rifles have been modified for police use in such a way that only targeted single shots are possible, not so-called continuous fire.

"With the modern medium-range weapon, we are giving our colleagues across the country the necessary power in the fight against serious criminals and dangerous fanatics," explained Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU). "Attacks and massacres with heavily armed perpetrators have made it terribly clear that the police must also be prepared for such scenarios." The shooting range in Lorch now enables optimal conditions for training and further education. In addition to Lorch, there is another open-air shooting range and around 40 indoor shooting ranges in Hesse, said Beuth.

According to the Hessian Police Union (GdP), there is a lack of sufficient exercise opportunities. Nationwide there is the problem that not every area presidium has sufficient training capacities, criticized the deputy GdP state chairman Jens Mohrherr in Wiesbaden. "Against the background of the current 3,000 students, it should not be ignored that the next generation of police officers must also be trained." The shortage of capacities is expected to increase.

At the Hessian police, some shooting ranges have been closed in recent years due to technical obsolescence and foreseeable uneconomical renovation, explained Mohrherr. Sufficient replacements must be found more quickly.

"The police situation since the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice and Brussels has brought about a rethinking of police training and technical equipment," said the trade unionist. The introduction of a medium-range weapon requires permanent training. "Unfortunately, there are not enough suitable training centers available across the country," explained Mohrherr.

In Lorch, meanwhile, the raid squad is practicing firing the G38 rifle from different positions: At the command of the instructors, the officers shoot alternately standing, lying or kneeling. It's loud, cartridge cases fly through the air.

A few meters further on, a special task force (SEK) exercises on a 300-meter track. The scenario: a man shoots out of a building and, despite negotiations, cannot be convinced to give up. The SEK then moves in. Always in teams of three, the men approach the perpetrator with their rifles and seek protection behind wooden walls. A case that everyone wants to avoid as much as possible is also being rehearsed: a policeman is shot.

Under the cover fire of another team, the SEK men bring their colleagues to safety. A few minutes later, the shots died down and the guns were on again. The police take off their heavy helmets and stand quietly next to each other in the forest of the area above the Rheingau. You can feel how the tension is relieved from them. Even if everything is just an exercise.