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Friday, May 20, 2022

Kotti’s guard will likely be more expensive than planned

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The red-green-red coalition wants to spend a lot more money on internal administration. The draft budget foresees an increase in spending from 2.67 billion euros last year to 2.81 billion euros this year and 2.88 billion euros next year. Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) told the House Interior Committee on Monday that not all coalition projects could yet be implemented.

The draft budget initially allocates €250,000 for Spranger’s pet project: a police station on Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg. That probably won’t be enough, as Spranger said. In the course of planning, higher costs due to rising construction prices and delivery problems had already become apparent.

Under current plans, the station is scheduled to come online in 2023. Even the estimated €50,000 annual rent on the home without a lease is unlikely to be enough. Spranger wants a guard with 24-hour video surveillance to combat drug trafficking and street crime.

Spranger wants to shoulder €200m of the €1.24bn backlog in redevelopment of dilapidated police and fire department properties. With the previous budget of 33.5 million euros a year for the police alone, the renovation backlog could hardly be narrowed, Spranger said.

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The senator from the interior announced that she will join the supervisory board of the state’s real estate service provider BIM “to bring my experience there and thus finally effectively reduce the renovation backlog.”

There should also be more money and staff for the police ticketing office, which recently has barely processed private reports against illegal parking, and fewer parking tickets. Traffic enforcement will now be expanded, and six new speed cameras are planned for 2023. Overall, police will get 610 new jobs this year and next, including 100 new ones, and firefighters 103.

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In the case of a budget item, Benedikt Lux (Greens) reminded the Senate of a promise made in the coalition agreement. According to this, “additional compensation for those affected by health problems from the previous shooting ranges” must be ensured. But exactly zero euros are provided for this in the draft budget, compensation payments are still possible.

In 2015, the health-hazardous conditions at the shooting ranges became known, the former Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel (SPD) had established an evaluation committee. A third of the almost 800 claims for compensation were rejected and 3.3 million euros were paid. Heavy shooters, such as trainers and special unit officers, sometimes walked away empty-handed.

A new arbitration commission is now reviewing more than 150 objections, with its final report due in April. It is already becoming clear that Geisel’s committee was wrong on many counts.

The duration of deployment of officials should now play a more important role. Spranger assured that the Ministry of the Interior will definitely provide money for compensation. This can also be done through a foundation.

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