Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere reacted to recent violent incidents in Germany with a raft of new security measures. These included a new cybercrime unit and easing the deportation of foreigners deemed dangerous.
The German government is planning a host of new security measures in the wake of a few violent incidents in Würzburg, Ansbach and Munich, including an increase in police personnel, a central crime unit for pursuing crime on the Internet, easier deportation for migrants who have committed crimes, and depriving Germans who join foreign “terror militias” of their citizenship.
“I am convinced that these proposals will increase security quickly,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters during a special press conference in Berlin on Thursday, before adding that all the proposals could be implemented in this legislative period, which ends next fall.
One of the proposals will see a new ground for deportation added to Germany’s Residence Act, termed: “endangering public safety.”
De Maiziere insisted that security forces had been continually strengthened throughout his tenure, but that new measures were still necessary, including the creation of a “Central Office for Information in Security Sphere” (ZITiS), which will support security forces by developing “methods, products and strategies to fight criminality and terrorism on the Internet.” The new office will be set up at the beginning of next year and will eventually include 400 officials.
A migrant blew himself up with a homemade bomb in Ansbach in late July
De Maiziere also tried to diffuse the row that has developed in the last few days over his alleged plans to weaken doctors’ obligation to patient confidentiality – potentially forcing doctors to report mental health patients who might pose a threat to public safety. The German Medical Association had preemptively warned against any such plans on Wednesday.
The minister said he was “aware of the sensitivity” of this problem and for that reason proposed a meeting between the government and the association’s president, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, to disucss “how we can preserve the duty to confidentiality while reducing the risks for citizens as much as possible.”
Meanwhile, de Maiziere resisted calls from some state interior ministers to ban the face-covering Islamic dress the burqa in Germany. He said it was “constitutionally problematic” and added: “You can’t ban everything you oppose, and I oppose wearing the burqa.”