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German poll shows support for more security

December 26, 2016

Sixty percent of Germans want more video surveillance in public spaces, according to a new YouGov poll published on Sunday. The public call comes in the wake of the Berlin Christmas market attack.

Deutschland Berlin Sicherheitsmaßnahmen nach Anschlag
Image: Getty Images/M. Tantussi

Appearing to support government plans to change the law to allow increased video surveillance, 73 percent of Germans polled also backed the idea of having larger police forces.

The YouGov survey for the German news agency dpa was carried out days after Tunisian national Anis Amri plowed a truck into a Christmas market, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50 others. Amri, who was the prime suspect, was shot dead after fleeing to Italy.

The Christmas market at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz near Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church had not been under surveillance by police cameras at the time of the attack.

Berlin Anschlag - Fahndungsfoto Anis Amri
Tunsian Anis Amri carried out the Berlin market attackImage: picture-alliance/Bundeskriminalamt

Amri's involvement in the attacks was initially missed by authorities, which some analysts believe would have been avoided if video cameras had been in use.

A refugee of Pakistani origin was initially suspected of carrying out the attack after being followed from the scene by a member of the public.

Sunday's poll comes after the German cabinet this week approved a draft bill that will allow greater monitoring of public places, despite opposition from Berlin's regional government, whose leaders have called the move premature.

The draft law will mean a partial roll-back of Germany's strict privacy laws.

In response, Federal Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière (CDU) called on Berlin's regional assembly to "rethink" its attitude to video cameras "urgently."

In the YouGov survey, one in two Germans polled called for involvement of the military (Bundeswehr) in the event of terrorist attacks.

At present, soldiers can be deployed when police called for backup. But their role has never been cemented.

Next March, the first joint exercise of the Bundeswehr and the police will take place.

mm/kl (dpa)