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Workplaces with Public Service

In workplaces that are open to the public, it is possible for employees to be confronted with various forms of violence. These can range from simple verbal abuse, being screamed at and insults or everything from rampages up to and including violent scenarios that require police intervention.

The Aachener Modell zur Reduzierung von Bedrohungen und Übergriffen am Arbeitsplatz (“Aachen Model for the Reduction of Threats and Attacks in the Workplace”) addresses each of the various facets of violence and structures them into four different threat levels. The content of the Aachen model and the elaborated recommendations for action serve as the basis for this page.

The model of the four threat levels from 0 to 3
Level 0: Normal to controversial conversational situations.
Level 1: Verbally aggressive behavior (e.g., offending or degrading insults), inappropriate social behavior (e.g., informal modes of address, refusing), physically aggressive behavior towards the office equipment or parts of the building (e.g., kicking the office furniture, property damage).
Level 2: Forms of violence such as physical altercations and physical violence as well as clear threats and coercion.
Level 3: Severe forms of violence (e.g., mass shootings, taking of hostages, and hold-ups) as well as the utilization of tools (e.g., scissors, staplers, hole punchers, office chairs) or weapons.

In general, employees can safely de-escalate level “0” and “1” threats without involving the management level. The assistance of managers, however, provides a sense of security and support.
For threat levels “2” and higher, professionals (such as the police) should be involved. This ensures that serious and dangerous attacks can be responded to in a professional manner.

Overall, a multi-level alarm system must therefore be in place:

  • In conflict situations (levels “0” and “1”), alert colleagues to attract further attention.
  • In dangerous situations (levels “2” and “3”), keep those same colleagues away from the location and inform special forces (e.g., police).

Unfallkasse Nordrhein-Westfalen (ed.): Prävention in NRW/37. Gewaltprävention - ein Thema für öffentliche Verwaltungen?! „Das Aachener Modell“ Reduzierung von Bedrohungen und Übergriffen an Arbeitsplätzen mit Publikumsverkehr, Düsseldorf 2010.
Programm Polizeiliche Kriminalprävention der Länder und des Bundes (ed.): Beschäftigte vor Übergriffen schützen. Eine Handreichung für Behördenleiter, Geschäftsführer sowie Personalverantwortliche.