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Federal Criminal Police Office (Germany)

The Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (in German: About this sound Bundeskriminalamt , abbreviated About this sound BKA ) is the federal investigative police agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.[1] It is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Hesse, and maintains major branch offices in Berlin and Meckenheim near Bonn. It is headed by Holger Münch since Dec 2014.

Federal Criminal Police Office
Bundeskriminalamt
BKA-Logo.svg
Main logo of the BKA
Abbreviation BKA
Agency overview
Formed 15 March 1951 (67 years ago) (1951-03-15)
Preceding agency
  • Criminal Police Office for the British Zone
Employees 5,500
Annual budget €460 Million
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Germany
Operations jurisdiction Germany
Legal jurisdiction As defined in the Bundeskriminalamtgesetz (de)
Constituting instrument
General natureFederal law enforcement
Headquarters Wiesbaden

Agency executive
Divisions
Facilities
Stations Wiesbaden, Meckenheim, Berlin
Website
www.bka.de
Twitter
Facebook
YouTube

Primary jurisdiction of the agency includes coordinating cooperation between the federation and state police forces; investigating cases of international organized crime, terrorism and other cases related to national security; counterterrorism; the protection of members of the constitutional institutions, and of federal witnesses. When requested by the respective state authorities or the federal minister of the interior, it also assumes responsibility for investigations in certain large-scale cases. Furthermore, the Attorney General of Germany can direct it to investigate cases of special public interest.[2]

Contents

HistoryEdit

The Federal Criminal Police Office was founded in Germany in 1951.

The German police in general is - by definition of the German constitution - organized on a state level (e.g. North Rhine-Westphalia Police, Bavarian State Police, Berlin Police). Exceptions are the Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the German Parliament Police. Because of historic reasons all these federal police forces have a specific and limited legal jurisdiction. After World War II there should not be another all-powerful police force like the Reich Main Security Office (consisting of the Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst, the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt).

MissionsEdit

The formation of the BKA is based on several articles of the German constitution, which give the federal government the exclusive ability to pass laws on the coordination of criminal policing in Germany.

The jurisdictions of the BKA are defined in the Bundeskriminalamtgesetz (BKAG):

  • Investigation and thread prevention in cases of national and international terrorism.
  • Investigating the international trade with narcotics, arms, munitions, explosives and internationally organized money-laundering and counterfeiting.
  • Investigating crimes when a state public prosecutor, a state police force or the state's interior minister, the federal public prosecutor or the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Germany) task the BKA with a criminal investigation.
  • Personal protection of the constitutional bodies of Germany and their foreign guests, e.g. the President of Germany, Parliament of Germany, Cabinet of Germany, Federal Constitutional Court and other institutions), the BKA also investigates major crimes against these institutions.
  • Protection of federal witnesses.
  • Investigating crimes against critical infrastructures in Germany.
  • Coordinating cooperation between the federal and state police forces (especially state criminal investigation authorities) and with foreign investigative authorities (in Germany the state police forces are mainly responsible for policing).
  • Coordinating the cooperation with international law enforcement agencies like the FBI. The BKA is also the national central bureau for Europol and Interpol. Additionally the BKA provides liaison officers for over 60 German embassies worldwide, who work with local law enforcement agencies.
  • Collecting and analyzing criminal intelligence as a national crime office.
  • Providing IT-Infrastructure for German law enforcement agencies, e.g. police databases INPOL (de), Schengen Information System, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), Anti-Terror-Database (ATD).
  • Providing assistance to other national and international law enforcement agencies in forensic and criminological research matters.
  • Acting as a clearing house for identifying and cataloging images and information on victims of child sexual exploitation, similar to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the United States.[2]

OrganizationEdit

Since it foundation in 1951 the BKA was reorganized several times. The last major reform tooks place in July 2016 and gave the BKA the structure described below.[3]

The BKA is currently organized in 9 divisions. The President of the BKA is supported by its staff in the so-called "Leitungsstab" (which has not the status of a division):

Staff LS - ManagementEdit

(in German: Stab LS - Leitungsstab)

  • Office of the BKA-President and the Vice-Presidents
  • Press and media relations
  • Law enforcement advisement, situation reporting
  • Strategic affairs
  • Resources, organization
  • National cooperation

Division ZI - Central Information ManagementEdit

 
Wanted poster of the BKA

(in German: Abteilung ZI - Zentrales Informationsmanagment)

  • 24/7 Operations Center
  • Language and Translation Service
  • Information and data services, police records administration
  • Law enforcement information and message exchange
  • Security screening / vetting
  • Identification services
  • Fugitive and search services (International police cooperation, Legal assistance agreements)
    • Common search, public search/manhunt
    • Schengen Searches (SIRENE)
    • Interpol Searches
    • Target searches, manhunt

Division ST – State SecurityEdit

(in German: Abteilung ST - Polizeilicher Staatsschutz)

  • Situational reporting, anaysis
  • Threat assessment
  • Situation center State Security
  • National Security, Politically motivated crime - Terrorism / Extremism
    • International terrorism, religious motivated extremism and terrorism, Jihadism
    • Left-wing and right-wing politically motivated crime, including the cooperation with the Z Commission
    • State sponsored terrorism
    • Politically motivated crime by foreigners
  • Politically motivated arms crime, proliferation, CBRN arms
  • Espionage
  • State sponsored cybercrime and cyber-espionage
  • War crimes, Crimes against international criminal law and humanity (including German central office for international criminal law)
  • Financial investigations State Security

Division SO – Serious and Organized CrimeEdit

(in German: Abteilung SO - Schwere und Organisierte Kriminalität)

Financial crime, Case integrated asset requisition (VIVA), economic audit service (WP)

Division SG – Protection DivisionEdit

(in German: Abteilung SG - Sicherungsgruppe)

  • SG E (Operations)
    • Personal protection details (Protection of the German Chancellor and other cabinet members)
    • Foreign Dignitary protection (when invited by the federal government)
    • Reconnaissance and mobile support units
    • Special units like the ASE (Foreign Special Missions) which have similar tasks like the Secret Service Counter-Assault Teams
  • SG F (Situation center)
    • Mission support, internal organization and logistics
    • Tactical Operations Center

The Protection Group protects the members of Germany's constitutional bodies and their foreign guests and is often the most visible part of the BKA. Specially selected and trained officers with special equipment and vehicles provide round-the-clock personal security to those they protect. The Protection Group is now headquartered in Berlin.

 
Arrest presentation of the BKA MEK

Division OE - Operational Mission and Investigative SupportEdit

(in German: Abteilung OE - Operative Einsatz- und Ermittlungsunterstützung)

  • Technical Operational Service (TOS)
    • Technology monitoring, logistics
      • Analysis of (new) technologies (evaluation for law enforcement use and criminal potential)
    • IT-Forensics
      • Case and mission support, e.g. at crime scenes and while conducting search warrants
      • Securing and processing of digital evidence
      • Research and development, live forensics
    • (Mass) Data analysis, Video Competence Center (CC Video)
    • Technical Mission Support, development of technical equipment
  • Comptence Center for Information Technology Surveillance (CC ITÜ), Lawful interception
    • Telecommunications Surveillance (TKÜ)
    • Information Technology Surveillance (ITÜ)
  • Mobile Mission Commando (MEK)
    • Plain-clothes SWAT unit specialised in surveillance and apprehension of fugitives in mobile situations
    • Central federal support group for major nuclear threat defense (ZUB)
  • Adviser and Negotiation Group, e.g. for hostage-takings in foreign countries
  • Witness protection program (federal level)

Division KT – Forensic Science InstituteEdit

(in German: Abteilung KT - Kriminalistisches Institut)

  • Disaster Victims Identification Task Force
  • Crime scene unit
  • Bomb squad, explosive ordonance disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive ordonance disposal (IEDD), CBRN crime scenes
  • Research and development on crime scene procedures
  • Institution for technical and natural sciences, reporting for law enforcement, public prosecuters and courts
    • Ballicstics, arson and explosion investigations
    • DNA analytics, investigation of material and micro traces
    • Analysis of handwritings and documents, voice recognition
    • Central laboratory for physical, biological and chemical analysis, toxicology
    • Digital electronics, data reconstruction, video, picture, signal and krypto analysis

Division IT – Information TechnologyEdit

(in German: Abteilung IT - Informationstechnik)

  • Information and communication management
    • common IT software, e.g. operation systems, office tools
    • law enforcement databases, e.g. various INPOL databases, Europol (SIENA), Schengen (SIRENE), anti-terror-database (ATD)
    • digital (police) radio management, mobile communications

Division IZ – International Coordination, Training and Research CenterEdit

(in German: Abteilung IZ – Internationale Koordinierung, Bildungs- und Forschungszentrum)

  • EU and international cooperation, e.g. Europol and Interpol
  • Coordination of BKA liaison officers at German embassies
  • Consulting center for police legal questions, law enforcement and legal politics
  • Police training (national/international)
    • Common training, management
    • Specialised criminal police training, police training
    • International police training and logistics support
  • Institute of Law Enforcement Studies
    • Federal University, Departmental Branch of the Federal Criminal Police
    • Criminological and law enforcement research
      • Research and consulting center terroism/extremism
      • Research and consulting center law enforcement statistics, dark field research
      • Research and consulting center cybercrime
      • Research and consulting center organzied crime, economic crime, criminal prevention
  • Public relations, internet editorial staff

Division ZV – Central and Administrative AffairsEdit

(in German: Abteilung ZV – Zentral- und Verwaltungsaufgaben)

  • Common human resources management
  • Facility management
  • Budget management
  • Internal Organization
  • Operations and internal security
  • Prevention of corruption
  • Logistics, car pool, workshops
  • Legal Affairs

Joint Centers and Task ForcesEdit

The BKA is part of several joint centers and platforms for combatting crime:

For special cases the BKA creates task forces, which are called "Besondere Aufbauorganisation" (abbreviated: BAO). These task forces can integrate personnel from different divisions and state police forces as well. On some occasions international police forces participate too.

PersonnelEdit

General structureEdit

 
Federal Criminal Police Office (Germany) number of employees (red) and budget in million euro (black)

The BKA currently employs more than 5,500 people. More than 2,600 are police officers of various ranks including upper management. Furthermore, the BKA has more than 600 civil servants (e.g. administrative or technical personnel). Another 2,000 employees work for the BKA as scientists (forensic and natural sciences) and academics (criminology and law enforcement research).

The BKA received more than 1,000 additional job positions in 2017 (which is not included in the above-mentioned 5,500).

RecruitmentEdit

The BKA recruits its personnel through different procedures: The civilian personnel (non civil servants, scientists, administrative personnel) is recruited similar to private companies.

Potential police officers are recruited in a longer process. They have to pass a written and oral exam (interview, group discussions, psychological test), a sport test (endurance, strength, reaction), a medical examination and security screening.

Police trainingEdit

After the police officer applicants pass the mentioned exams, they study at the Federal University (Departmental Branch of the Federal Criminal Police) for three years at different locations. While studying (law, criminal proceedings, constitutional law, criminology, police tactics, ethics) they also receive traditional police training like martial arts (Krav Maga, Jiu Jiutsu, Judo), shooting, basic driving and crime scene investigation.

During their studies the police candidates complete an 8-month internship at a local state police office and an 8-month internship in several investigative, support and analysis units of the BKA.

Police ranksEdit

 
Badge of a BKA police officer

The BKA has the same rank structure as the other police forces in Germany. As a criminal police branch, the different ranks are preceded by the description "Kriminal-". The uniformed police forces normally have the description "Polizei-" like "Polizeikommissar". The rank of police candidates or recruits is "Kriminalkommissaranwärter (KKA)". The entry level after finishing the three year studies is "Kriminalkommissar", meaning Detective Inspector. The criminal police ranks are divided into the "Gehobener Dienst" (upper service) and "Höherer Dienst" (higher service). The upper service is the investigative level of the BKA. The higher service could be described as the middle management of the BKA. To enter the higher service members of the upper service have to pass an additional exam. After passing the test and acception for the higher service, these recruits have to study an additional two years at police university in Münster. The higher service can also be entered by external, non-police personnel from selected academic fields.

Criminal Police Ranks
Upper Service Paygrade Higher Service Paygrade
Kriminalkommissar A9 Kriminalrat A13
Kriminaloberkommissar A10 Kriminaloberrat A14
Kriminalhauptkommissar A11 Kriminaldirektor A15
Kriminalhauptkommissar A12 Leitender Kriminaldirektor A16
Erster Kriminalhauptkommissar A13

LeadershipEdit

The BKA is headed by the "Amtsleitung", which consists of the President and his two deputies, the vice-presidents.

The President of the BKA is a political civil servant, who is appointed by the President of Germany on recommendation of the Minister of the Interior and the cabinet. He receives a B9 paygrade. The vice-presidents are non-political civil servants (as they can rise from the ranks). Both receive a B6 paygrade.[1]

 
Jörg Ziercke (2013)

PresidentsEdit

  • Dr. Max Hagemann (1951–1952)
  • Dr. Hanns Jess (1952–1955)
  • Reinhard Dullien (1955–1964)
  • Paul Dickopf (1965–1971)
  • Horst Herold (1971 – March 1981)
  • Heinrich Boge (March 1981 – 1990)
  • Hans-Ludwig Zachert (1990 – April 1996)
  • Klaus Ulrich Kersten (April 1996 – February 26, 2004)
  • Jörg Ziercke (February 26, 2004 - December 2014)
  • Holger Münch (since 1 December 2014)

Vice-PresidentsEdit

  • Rolf Holle
  • Werner Heinl
  • Ernst Voss
  • Günther Ermisch
  • Reinhardt Rupprecht
  • Herbert Tolksdorf (till 1983)
  • Gerhard Boeden (1983 till 1987)
  • Gerhard Köhler (1990 till 1993)
  • Bernhard Falk (1993 till 2010)
  • Rudolf Atzbach
  • Jürgen Stock (von 2004 till 2014)
  • Jürgen Maurer (2010 till März 2013)
  • Peter Henzler (since April 2013)
  • Michael Kretschmer (since March 2015)

EquipmentEdit

FirearmsEdit

The BKA equips its police officers with the SIG Sauer P229 as a duty firearm. Selected units are also equipped with Heckler & Koch MP5 machine pistols. Additionally the police officers are equipped with pepperspray and bulletproof vests.

The special mission unit MEK is equipped with Glock pistols, Heckler & Koch MP5 and other weapons. The Protection Group is also allowed to carry additional military-grade weapons, e.g. the ASE unit or the protection details (only revolvers are allowed in certain foreign countries).

The use of this weapons and force in general is controlled by a special law, the UZwG.

The BKA police officers are authorized to carry their duty firearms concealed while off-duty.

 
Armoured car of the BKA Protection Group, used for the President of Germany

VehiclesEdit

The Protection Group of the BKA utilizes armoured cars from different manufacturers for their protection mission, e.g. like Mercedez-Benz W221 (for the President of Germany), Audi A8 L or BMW.

Cases and InvestigationsEdit

ImagesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit