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CRIME

Attacks force Berlin to increase public transport security

Following a series of violent attacks on public buses and trains in Berlin, the city’s public transportation network has said it will add up to 1,000 security personnel.

Attacks force Berlin to increase public transport security

The German capital’s public transportation operator BVG said on Monday it was planning hundreds of new positions in order to make a noticeable difference in the security presence.

“Every security incident is one too many for us,” BVG board member Thomas Necker told RBB radio. But he admitted in the same interview that he was sceptical whether the increased number in personnel could totally eliminate the problem of violent attacks.

Necker ruled out arming BVG bus drivers and train conductors with pepper spray or something else, as it would simply lead to an escalation of violence and an increased danger for employees. He did, however, support the idea of having BVG personnel and Berlin police units patrol the network together. “If the personnel and cost situation of Berlin police allows, we will be the first to take part in it,” Necker said.

In recent days there have been several attacks on both BVG employees and passengers on Berlin’s public transportation network. In the early hours of Sunday morning a bus driver was severely injured after being stabbed and on Saturday a passenger was beaten unconscious by an unknown assailant on the Berlin metro, called the U-Bahn. Only last week another bus driver was also beaten unconscious while he was behind the wheel.

CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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