German Police Union chief Rainer Wendt has warned of the possibility of “police free areas” in which police and other authorities will be unable to enforce the law.
Mr. Wendt has warned German politicians to get the criminal element in the country under control or risk “police-free zones in Germany”. He said that “2017 must be a year of prosecution”, demanding police be allowed to properly enforce the law and hard measures be taken against those “who do not adhere to the laws”, Die Welt reports.
The Police Union head said no-go areas could end up being ruled under criminal laws, rather than the German rule of law, and said this year “must be a year of law enforcement. And indeed there must be consistent law enforcement for those who believe they do not have to stick to the laws in Germany.”
In order to combat criminal elements, Wendt said the government must make more use of technology to boost police presence and capability. He recommended more CCTV cameras in public areas which could work with pattern and facial recognition software to register potential crimes thus allowing police to stop crimes before they happen or better help them identify suspects.
Wendt acknowledged the success of CCTV in identifying the Bulgarian attacker who kicked a woman down the stairs of a Berlin metro station last month.
In the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, the police union has asked for harsher penalties for those who physically attack the police. Left-wing extremists have attacked police at political protests on many occasions across Germany including last year’s party conference of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Stuttgart.
During the investigation into the 2015-16 Cologne New Year’s Eve sex attacks, the North Rhine-Westphalia parliament debated the existence of possible no-go areas.
Chief Commissioner of Criminal Investigation Ralf Feldmann said the possibility of no-go areas in the region was very real. Feldmann said that three members of the Kurdish-Lebanese community told him last year “the police would not win the fight with us because we are too many”.
Police in the region have denied the existence of any no-go areas, but in other countries the phenomenon is undeniable. In Sweden, police have been forced to admit that there are at least 55 areas in which they have very little ability to properly enforce the law without needing extensive support from other officers.