Bavaria votes for increased police powers

Critics think the new laws will lead to increased surveillance
Critics think the new laws will lead to increased surveillance
By Mark Armstrong
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Critics say the new law is unnecessary and will lead to infringements of civil rights


In Germany, the Bavarian State Parliament has passed a controversial bill which broadens police powers. The law allows for preventative action against an "impending danger" instead of a requirement of a "concrete danger."

The ruling centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU) used its majority in the state assembly to push through the law, with 89 lawmakers voting in favour, 67 against and two abstaining.

Civil rights groups are critical of the proposals.

"We are pretty sure it will have a chilling effect on people knowing that the police can act much earlier than they used to," said Dr. Bijan Moini, a lawyer at the Society for Civil Rights. "And also, for a certain group of people, who do not conform to what we consider a "normal" life, they will probably face much more police presence in their daily life from now on."

But Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the bill is a protection law and not a surveillance law. arguing that it provides more security, civil rights and privacy.

In reply Dr. Dijan Moini argued:

"The Bavarian state is already extremely safe. The same interior minister only two months ago said that the crime rate in Bavaria is at a 30 year low. So, we don't think in such a situation it is really necessary to enhance surveillance capabilities of the Bavarian police. We think it would be completely sufficient to use their existing powers more efficiently."

Last week an estimated 30,000 people in Munich protested against the law and opposition parties say they will launch a constitutional appeal against the bill.

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