German court bans permanent police cameras in ‘Nazi hood’

German court bans permanent police cameras in ‘Nazi hood’

German Police may not conduct permanent video surveillance in a part of the western city of Dortmund described as a “Nazi neighbourhood” in order to curb crime, a regional court ruled on Friday.

The Dortmund police had aimed to set up video cameras on a street seen as a stronghold of suspected neo-Nazis from September onward, in order to prevent crime there and in the immediate neighbourhood.

“They had also aimed to counter the image of the Dorstfeld neighbourhood as dominated by Nazis,’’ the court said.

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Tenants of a house who are believed to be members of Dortmund’s neo-Nazi scene had sued, claiming that their rights to privacy would be infringed by the planned surveillance directly in front of their home.

The court ruled that the police plans were not covered by the relevant legislation.

“The area was not a crime hotspot, and serious crime could not be expected there,’’ the court said.

The damage cited by the police, including graffiti with Nazi content, did not warrant action of this kind, it found.

In addition, permanent video surveillance represented a serious impingement of basic rights that was disproportionate.

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