Alpine Police

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Alpine policemen on the mountain rope of a police helicopter
Alpine policemen stowing equipment

The Alpine Police (also Alpine Einsatzgruppen , AEG) is that part of the Austrian federal police , which is entrusted with the implementation of executive measures in alpine terrain. In particular, the Alpine Police are responsible for investigating accidents in alpine terrain and in trendy sports such as skiing , cross-country skiing or paragliding . Furthermore, the AEG are also active in cooperation with the air rescue , the air police and the mountain rescue for the rescue and rescue of people who have had an accident in alpine terrain.

Every year more than 7,600 accidents occur in Austria in alpine terrain. Of these, around half are usually only in the federal state of Tyrol , but the states of Salzburg , Vorarlberg , Styria and Upper Austria also have a large proportion of alpine deployments. In the period from November 1, 2012 to October 31, 2013, there were 7,697 alpine accidents in Austria, of which 296 were fatal accidents in which a total of 302 people were killed.


The primary task of the alpine police is to help with alpine accidents and the subsequent investigative work. In addition, the Alpine task forces also organize searches and manhunters in Alpine terrain and ensure that law and order are maintained in this area. Accident prevention and the education of athletes about the possible dangers of the mountains are also part of the duties of the alpine police. In every federal state in which the Alpine Police maintains task forces, a so-called "canyoning competence team" has been set up due to the increasing number of accidents in the canyoning trend sport .


In all of Austria there are currently 32 Alpine task forces with a total of 465 officers. In seven out of nine Austrian federal states there are departments of the alpine police, only the federal capital Vienna and Burgenland do not have their own AEG due to their geographic nature. Each AEG is assigned an officer as head, who is alerted in the event of an incident via the district police command. The operations department at the General Directorate for Public Security in the Federal Ministry of the Interior , which is responsible in particular for training and equipping alpine police officers throughout Austria, is organizationally superordinate to these Alpine task forces .

In general, the officers assigned to an AEG perform their regular duty at the respective police stations. If necessary, the Alpine task forces, which are between 6 and 31 officers, can be quickly brought together, depending on the size of the operational area and the work involved. The members of the Alpine Task Force are specially trained experts in high alpine terrain. You can achieve different qualifications, for example as a flight rescuer or a police mountain guide. In 2004, 120 flight rescuers and 48 state-certified ski instructors were employed as officers of the Alpine Police.


Development of the numbers of alpine accidents
Survey period from November 1st to October 31st

The first considerations to set up an armed group to secure the Alpine borders with Italy came up at the beginning of the 20th century. The officers Mathias Zdarsky , Georg Bilgeri and Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf pointed out that due to Italy's expansive policy, it would be advisable to install an armed border guard in the mountains on the southern border of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy . Finally, in 1906, to secure the borders, especially in South Tyrol, the kuk war ministry converted parts of the Landwehr into mountain troops. The Imperial and Royal Gendarmerie also took on part of these tasks , which can be seen as the beginning of today's Alpine Police. Even at this time, simple alpine equipment such as snowshoes was kept in stock in the gendarmerie departments if necessary.

After the First World War , the actual alpine training began with the gendarmerie under the direction of Colonel i. R. Georg Bilgeri , the ski pioneer of that time. In addition to intensified training, the troops also received improved alpine equipment. From 1923 onwards, breeches , leggings up to the knees and a windbreaker made of gray canvas were worn by the members of the alpine troops. In addition, the gendarmes were equipped with ice axes, hemp climbing ropes and wooden bilgerischi. In 1927 the first alpine regulations for the gendarmerie were issued, which had been developed by Bilgeri and the gendarmerie Colonel Josef Albert.

With the annexation to the German Reich in 1938, the development of gendarmerie alpinism came to a halt for a short time. Soon after the liberation by the Allies, however, in 1947, requests arose to revive it because of the increasing tourism. In 1951, a new alpine regulation was issued for the gendarmerie stations, replacing the one from 1927. A year later, the Ministry of the Interior set up so-called Alpine task forces for the first time in every federal state except Burgenland. In 1962 an expanded alpine regulation came into force. This regulation was most recently modified on August 9, 1996, when the currently valid Alpine Service Guidelines came into force and the entire Alpine training was redesigned.

As part of the merger of police and gendarmerie in 2005, the name of the alpine troop changed from alpine gendarmerie to alpine police and the officers of the alpine task forces have been part of the federal police guard since then .


Web links

  • Website of the Alpine Police on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
  • The Alpine Police (PDF; 2.3 MB) - press release for the technical discussion “From the Interior” with Interior Minister Maria Fekter on January 28, 2010.

Individual evidence

  1. Alpine accident statistics 2012/13 , published by the Federal Police and the Austrian Board of Trustees for Alpine Safety.
  2. Hans Ebner: Danger in the Mountains (PDF; 104 kB) . In: Public Safety . (March / April 2011 edition).
  3. Alpine accident statistics on the website of the Alpine Police on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.