Berlin’s Secretary of State for the Interior, Torsten Akmann (SPD), calls for a new state authority for civil protection. He said that on Monday in the Interior Committee of the House of Representatives. It is about “creating a civil protection authority as a higher authority below the internal administration,” he said. The President of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, Ralph Tiesler, spoke out in favor of such authorities in all federal states.
Akmann’s statement was prompted by the consequences of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine for Berlin and the preparations for a crisis. As a result of the war, the question of how the federal and state governments are armed has come into focus. There are still massive gaps in Berlin.
There should be contact points for the population in the districts. So far, emergency power has not been secured for half of the so-called lighthouses. The reason: the Senate procured the equipment – emergency power, computers, cables and routers – but did not provide the instructions for setting up the systems. This also includes the question of how the contact points can communicate with each other when everything else has collapsed.
In an application, the FDP parliamentary group now demands that the Senate must do everything “to ensure the resilience of the civil protection beacons”. This includes the power supply over longer periods of time, the refueling of generators and fuel reserves.
The precautions taken so far are “alarming,” said FDP interior expert Björn Jotzo. “The level reached so far does not allow resilient operation of the civil protection beacons, especially in an emergency,” he said. “It cannot be that the civil protection lighthouses themselves become a disaster in the event of a disaster.”
So far, according to Akmann, the threat to Berlin from the war in Ukraine has been low. Plans for acts of terrorism or sabotage are not known. However, disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks and interference with demonstrations are to be expected.
The police have so far handled 588 cases related to the war – 138 anti-Russian acts, 71 anti-Ukrainian acts, the rest were generally anti-war. Mostly it is about property damage or hate slogans.
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Akmann said that 500 to 1,000 refugees from the Ukraine continue to arrive in Berlin every day. So far, 97 indications of possible sexual offenses against Ukrainian women and child protection cases have been examined, and criminal proceedings have been initiated in nine cases. As a precaution, the police approached 100 sex offenders who were at risk of recidivism and almost 50 suspects. 27,000 war refugees had been granted a residence permit, and a further 6,000 cases were being processed due to “application backlog”.