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Berlin: Better Funding for Law and Order

The three-way center-left coalition ruling the city state of Berlin has increased funding for the police, fire brigade and disaster management. The proposed budget even exceeds the amounts the Berlin Senate had originally wanted.

In the real world, law and order are subjects conservatives tend to reserve for themselves. They are usually the ones who demand better funding and working conditions for police officers and fire fighters. In Berlin, things are generally a little different, also in this regard.

‘Systematic Extension of Security Services’

The center-left coalition ruling Berlin, made up of the Social Democrats of Ruling Mayor Michael Müller, the Greens and ‘The Left’ have approved more funding for the police, the fire brigade, the disaster management, the immigration agency and aid agencies. To the surprise of the conservative opposition, the funds allocated exceed the amounts the Senate had requested. They still criticized the plans as insufficient.

The decision was taken in the Senate’s interior affairs committee. After the meeting, Frank Zimmermann of the SPD, Niklas Schrader from ‘The Left’ and Benedikt Lux from the Greens demonstrated unity by introducing it together. They announced a “systematic extension of the security services”. Hiring more personnel, improving their equipment and increasing salaries are the steps Berlin intends to take.

Berlin’s fire brigade is supposed to receive more money too. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

In a statement, the coalition partners said they wanted to improve the working conditions, the appeal of public service and strengthen both the enforcement and rescue forces. In addition it was their intention to “accelerate measures for more security in this city”.

Cash for Mobile Speed Traps

The Berlin Senate hat allocated 7.5 million Euro (8.2 million Dollars or 6.6 million Pounds Sterling) for those purposes. Now those funds are supposed to be increased by 2.7 million Euro (3 million Dollars or 2.4 million Pounds), according to reports in German-language media.

With the additional funds, mobile speed traps are supposed to be purchased in order to fight speeding on the streets of Berlin. The German capital’s State Office of Criminal Investigations is supposed to get more money as well. It badly needs operative technology devices.

This water cannon might be the most expensive land vehicle the Berlin police has. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Also the ambulance service run by the fire brigade urgently needs new vehicles. At the offices of both the police and the fire brigade, the sanitary installations needed to be refurbished quickly, the statement reads. In other words: The toilets and restrooms there seem to be falling apart.

CDU Sees ‘Missed Chance’

Berlin’s aid and disaster relief agencies would also receive funds which had been “substantially increased”, the statement says. They were granted for new vehicles and other items. In order to be able to “implement the cultural change” in its daily routine, the new immigration agency is yet another recipient of more money.

In spite of the increase, the conservative CDU said the Senate had “missed the chance” to come up with a budget which would have made sure Berlin was not the bottom of the pile in comparison with Germany’s other federal states anymore. The CDU’s Burkard Dregger was quoted saying there were no new funds for the communication surveillance of clans and terrorists.

He also said there should have been funds for so-called body cameras for police officers, tasers and defense against drones. In addition he said there should have been funds for new boats for the Berlin water police. But the latter will get a new boat worth 870,000 Euro (961,000 Dollars or 780,000 Pounds) next month.

Related article: Berlin’s Water Police: Getting Wet is Part of the Job

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