German police 'not trained for terror attack': union
The new head of Germany's top police union said Tuesday that officers lacked the training to deal with a terror attack, as the country maintained a state of alert after a warning from a foreign ally.
Speaking at a Police Trade Union (GdP) congress in Berlin, Bernhard Witthaut said that Germany's security forces were equipped to cope with natural disasters but not an incident like a suicide bombing.
"Normal police are trained in their daily service for a catastrophe or an accident, evacuating buildings and the like, but not for what to do in a terror attack," said Witthaut, who was elected GdP chairman Monday.
He said that 9,000 police jobs had been axed in recent years with another 9,000 still to be cut by 2019 which he said was undermining security at a time when the government was demanding a stronger presence on the streets.
But he dismissed calls for soldiers to be deployed domestically to guard against a terror attack, saying that the military had "no business on German streets".
German police beefed up their presence in crowded public spaces such as train stations and airports last Wednesday after Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the secret services had a tip of a likely attack this month.
He said the warning had come from an unnamed "foreign partner".
Media reports sited potential "soft" targets including the country's popular outdoor Christmas markets and the historic Reichstag parliament building, which on Monday suddenly closed its glass cupola -- one of Berlin's top tourist attractions -- to visitors who had not registered in advance.
On Tuesday, police detained 10 Islamists in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany suspected of plotting an attack in Belgium, the prosecutor's office in Brussels said.
© 2010 AFP