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Do we need cops at minor car accidents?

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Do we need cops at minor car accidents?
Photo: DPA
10:45 CEST+02:00
Are police needed at minor car accidents; a dent or a scratch? A German police chief says they are wasting their time on such matters. Is he right, or should a cop be there to ensure everything is done properly? Have your say.

Hubert Wimber, president of the Münster police force says about a third of his officers’ time is taken up dealing with minor traffic accidents which really don’t need police presence to be sorted out.

Adults should be able to deal with the consequences of a small prang – exchanging details and making sure all is in order. Wimber said his officers would be better deployed “catching proper crooks” rather than acting as administrators for insurance companies.

The police escorts for special transports should also be scrapped, he said, in favour of private firms which, if specially trained, could easily perform such tasks.

One might think that police forces struggling with budgets might be happy not to have to deal with car dinks, but both police unions rejected the suggestion that they no longer be called to the scene of small accidents.

One warned that those involved could act irrationally and a figure of authority should be there to ensure the situation remains calm and make sure everything is legal and correct.

Do we need a cop to show up for every minor accident? Does the presence of a uniform or two defuse a situation which could otherwise escalate? Or could someone such as an Ordnungsamt official currently used to dole out parking fines do the same job?

Would farming out special load escort duties be the thin end of the police privatisation wedge? Or is it sensible – keep police officers solving and preventing crime.

Should adults be able, and expected, to sort out small administrative details themselves – or is leaving cops out of the equation asking for trouble? Have your say.

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