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Police want money for false alarm

The apartment of Susanne L. had suspicious sounds to hear.

Reliable and expensive?

That's why the neighbors chose the emergency call. Luckily, everything turns out to be a false alarm. But for that Susanne gets a charge bill. But she does not see why she should pay them now.

Noises in the neighboring apartment of Susanne L. (29) had Judith (53) and Hans K. (57) startle at noon. "We have to do something, maybe an electrical appliance is broken and suddenly it burns, " said the painter to his wife. Because Susanne was on vacation and should return in two weeks.

Hans K. called the police. It came immediately. The officials were also irritated by the whistling noise. They had the apartment opened by a locksmith. But then it turned out: A defective heating valve was the cause of the noise. A quick turn - and it was immediately quiet again.

When Susanne came home from vacation, there was a surprise waiting for her next to a broken door and the news about the night police operation. In the post office was an invoice - 200 euros for the action of the orderkeeper.

But Susanne did not see why she should be asked to pay: "I can not help it if a defective valve makes noises and neighbors get the police!"

When she refused to pay, Susanne received a message from the police: "They should have left a key in the house for such emergencies, and then neighbors could have looked up the expensive operation would have been unnecessary." Because Susanne had never heard of such duty, the case ended up in court.

How would you decide?

Please consider this case from the point of view of the judge. Is Susanne right to complain about the bill? She did not call the police. We also pay taxes to help in emergencies. Or is Susanne responsible for the false alarm because she did not leave a key? That's the only reason why it came to the police. And he has to be paid. Should these costs be charged to all taxpayers? How do you decide?

So judged by the judge

The judges lined up on Susanne's side. Because no one is obliged to hand over the apartment keys to more or less foreign neighbors during his vacation. Everything looked like an emergency. And that's the responsibility of the police. If the situation later turns out to be harmless, it must not be cashed - unlike the false alarm by a private burglar alarm system. But if the police are called because of a misjudged emergency situation, that is free of charge (administrative court Neustadt, 5 K 1581/06 - 3/07).