Germany’s interior minister on Tuesday outlined plans for a security services overhaul, seeking greater federal powers on domestic intelligence and quicker expulsions of illegal migrants following the Berlin truck attack.
Thomas de Maiziere also called for giving federal police wider oversight across the country’s 16 states, and for a new national crisis management centre to be set up.
“We don’t have federal jurisdiction to deal with national catastrophes. The jurisdiction for the fight against international terrorism is fragmented,” he wrote in a guest column for the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“The federal police’s scope of action is restricted to railway stations, airports and border controls,” he wrote, stressing that “it is time” to reexamine Germany’s security set-up.
Policing and domestic intelligence services in Germany are currently decentralised and controlled by the country’s 16 states.
The plans for a sweeping reform come after a series of embarrassing security failures, with the December 19 attack training a spotlight on the gaps.
After Tunisian suspect Anis Amri allegedly rammed a truck into a crowded Christmas market, killing 12, it swiftly emerged that the asylum seeker had slipped through the net of security services.
Amri, 24, who was days later shot dead by Italian police, had been under surveillance since March, but German police dropped their watch in September thinking he was a small-time drug dealer.
The failed asylum seeker should also have been deported months ago but Tunisia did not provide the necessary paperwork until after the attack.