Military frontier patrols useless, says report

Military patrols of Austria’s eastern frontiers are practically useless in terms of increasing public security, the Federal Audit Office (RH) said yesterday (Mon).A new RH report released yesterday has concluded that the patrols have not helped to resolve even one per cent of crimes in patrolled areas. The patrols have led to charges in 70 criminal cases, only 0.53 per cent of the 11,361 reported crimes in patrol areas.The patrols during a period of 16 months have cost 29.3 million Euros, of which 20.2 million have been personnel costs. The average cost per person per day has been around 50 Euros, the report claims.The annual cost of the patrols is 22 million, the report says, rather than the 12 million claimed by the Defence Ministry.The report calls the contribution of patrols to the fight against cross-border crime “inadequate.” It also says that recruits who engage in patrolling do not receive a third of their basic military training.But Social Democratic (SPÖ) Defence Minister Norbert Darabos, disagrees: “The presence of our soldiers in frontier areas hinders the commission of crimes and helps keep the crime rate low. The patrols are a success, for without the military the crime rate would be higher,” he said.He added: “The patrol operation results in more security, and I am therefore 100 per cent behind it.”Burgenland People’s Party (ÖVP) Deputy Governor Franz Steindl called for the patrols to continue at least until the end of 2010.SPÖ provincial manager Robert Hergovich said: “As long as the ÖVP fails to provide us with more police, we will need the patrols.”