The interior ministers of a number of German states have been forced to cancel next year’s ‘Blitzer Marathon’, in which police forces across the country ramp up their efforts to speed check motorists, thanks to the pressure put on police forces by migrants.
The Blitzer Marathon, which literally translates as ‘Lightning Marathon,’ has been held countrywide for the last two years, following the pioneering efforts of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2012. For the two days of the event thousands of police officers take to the streets armed with speed cameras to conduct a nation-wide crackdown on speeding motorists.
This year’s event, which took place on the 16th and 17th April clocked 3,254,819 vehicles, of which 91,262 were going too fast. Many states only ran the event on the 16th as the funerals of the victims of the German Wings plane crash took place the next day.
However, next April’s event has already been called off as police struggle to manage their resources in the wake of the migrant crisis. By the end of the year, Germany is expected to have assimilated one million new residents, a situation which is leading to outbreaks of violence both from protesters, and among the incomers themselves, Germany’s n-tv has reported.
A letter from the interior ministers of a number of states and of the federal government to the Chairman of the Internal Security Working Group II reads: “Due to the unpredictable evolution of the refugee situation and the resulting duties of the police, (…) it was unanimously decided by all AK II members that preparations for the next transnational speed control event should be halted.”
Rainer Wendt, the head of the German police union said: “The speed camera marathon is an important element of [efforts to combat speeding], it is unfortunate that it had to be cancelled now.”
He said that it would, however, be unfortunate if the police were expected to carry responsibility for the marathon as well as their increased duties pertaining to the migrant situation. He added:
“Now we see the dramatic consequences of the short-sighted austerity policies of recent years. There are no reserves left, the police are working to their limit every day.”