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'Isis threat to Germany deserves more attention'

Tom Barfield · 14 Oct 2014, 15:50

Published: 14 Oct 2014 15:50 GMT+02:00

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“Having worked in security policy since the time of 9/11, I can clearly say that the latest threat from Isis, the geographical extent, the means that these terrorists have, will cause us problems without more personnel and resources,” MP Clemens Binninger said.

Binninger, a former policeman, briefly headed the inquiry into NSA spying in Germany and was a member of the parliamentary committee into the NSU murders. 

“We will really see in the next few months whether we are equipped to defend this country,” he continued.

“We are asking a lot of the security services and they are well within their rights to ask for the appropriate resources and legal instruments.”

Binninger's was a sobering assessment which was not completely shared by Rainer Wendt, president of police union DPolG.

“Even in the face of the jihadist threat, we mustn't forget that the police and the judiciary have been working together for decades to make this country safe,” Wendt said. “It's not all doom and gloom.”

But as well as protecting the country from terrorist attacks, police are being called upon to maintain order in the face of increasing tensions between different ethnic and religious groups.

Current fighting in Iraq and Syria has led to outbreaks of violence between Kurds, Salafist Muslims and Yazidi who live in Germany.

Around 1,300 police officers had to be deployed in Hamburg last Wednesday to keep order after a mass brawl involving 800 people broke out the previous night.

And Spiegel reported on Tuesday that North Rhine-Westphalia security services feared attacks against Salafist missionary groups would take place in Germany cities by people who seem them as Isis propagandists.

One Kurdish rapper in Cologne made a video telling fans to collect the addresses and car number plates of Salafists.

He told them to keep the information in case the police ever needed it, but the security services staff who evaluated his video saw the potential for the information to be put to more sinister use.

Binninger, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician, made his remarks while addressing a meeting of German Police Union (DPolG) representatives in Berlin about the lessons he has drawn from working on the investigative committee into the National Socialist Underground (NSU).

That case saw police forces from different states, as well as federal investigators, fail to co-operate effectively and chase false hypotheses as far-right political extremists carried out a series of racially-motivated murders during the early 2000s.

But Binninger also pointed out that “an effective parliamentary supervision of those services was not taking place,” pointing the finger at the political class for dropping the ball.

“We work in a security system which does a lot of very good work,” Binninger, himself a former policeman, said. “But in this case it very quickly reached its limits.”

SEE ALSO: Islamist heads to Syria despite electronic tag

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Tom Barfield (tom.barfield@thelocal.com)

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