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POLICE

Woman dies after crash with police car in central Berlin

An as yet unidentified woman died of her injuries on Monday after a police car collided with her vehicle in Berlin Mitte.

Woman dies after crash with police car in central Berlin
Photo: Berlin fire services

The collision happened on Grunerstraße as the woman tried to change lanes, according to police.

Police believe that the woman was trying to park in the central avenue of the street and failed to notice an approaching police vehicle, which was travelling at high speed with its siren on.

The police vehicle, which was travelling to the scene of a robbery in Potsdamer Platz, rammed into the driver’s side of her car at high speed.

A medic attempted to save the woman’s life at the scene of the accident, but she succumbed to her injuries.

Two police officers were also slightly injured in the collision and are said to have suffered a severe trauma due to the consequences of the crash.

It is still unclear how fast the police vehicle was driving, but a data recorded inside the vehicle will be able to give exact information on this when it has been analyzed. An independent analyst has been called in to evaluate the data.

The worst accident involving a police car took place not far from the scene of Monday’s crash. In 1993 a police car hit two children on the Schlossbrücke, killing them both, according to Tagesspiegel.

In 2005 a police vehicle drove through a red light with its siren on and hit a motorbike that was travelling across the junction. The motorcyclist was killed in the crash.

Tagesspiegel reports that there have previously been complaints that police drive too fast through the capital city.

POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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