Railway Police

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Railway Police is a special police department or organization working in the field of railways for the safety of passengers and the railway facilities and the rail transport is responsible. There are railway police authorities or organizations in Europe in Germany , the Netherlands , Poland , Belgium , France , Great Britain , Italy , Switzerland , Spain , Slovenia , Romania and Slovakia .


History of the Railway Police

Private and regional railroad time and Deutsche Reichsbahn

Police duties on the premises of the initially mainly private German railways and, from 1871 to 1920, of the regional railways had been regularly assigned to the railway supervisory staff since the first such order by the Nuremberg magistrate in November 1835. In 1836 Bavaria issued the first railway police regulations, in 1870 the first supranational railway police regulations came into being with the railway police regulations for the railways in the North German Confederation , which became practically unchanged in 1872 as the rail police regulations for the railways in Germany . The rules there were essentially unchanged in the Railway Building and Operating Regulations (EBO) of 1904. Only with the completion of the nationalization and the transition of the railways from all federal states or countries to the Reich ( Deutsche Reichsbahn ) did the Reich Ministry of Transport create a full-time "railway monitoring service" in 1921 , which was divided into "patrol", "guard" and "search service" . The position of the part-time railway police officers was retained in parallel. Law enforcement officers were appointed auxiliary officers to the public prosecutor's office . The legal basis was the EBO and the Code of Criminal Procedure . A militarily organized "railway protection" was set up for property protection tasks, the legal classification of which remained unclear.

Under the National Socialist regime, the railway police remained part of the Reichsbahn and thus ultimately subordinated to the Reich Ministry of Transport , but from 1936 they were also subject to instructions from the Reichsführer SS and chief of the German police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior . From 1938 the railway police could be subordinated as a special police, if necessary, to departments of the regulatory police or the armed forces ; the patrol service was renamed "Bahnschutzpolizei".

The railway police were initially disbanded by the Allies at the end of the war . To secure the military supplies and the supply of the population, however, the Allied Control Council decided on May 10, 1946 to re-establish a proper railway police organization in all occupation zones .

Territory of the German Federal Railroad (West Germany)

In western Germany , the railway police remained part of the Deutsche Bundesbahn . The law of the railway police resulted unchanged from the railway building and operating regulations and from the criminal procedure code . She was only responsible on the railway premises, except in the case of imminent danger or in the pursuit of a person who was found redacted on the railway premises. In these cases, the state police had to be informed immediately. Administrative acts of the railway police were called railway police orders .

Railway police officers were, in addition to the full-time officers of the railway police, also the company officials and the corresponding persons under state law who were in the service of non-federal railways.

The railway police authorities were the main administration of the Deutsche Bundesbahn, the Bundesbahn directorates , the offices of the operations service of the Bundesbahn and non-federal railway departments, which were designated for this purpose by the states. The railway police of the Federal Railroad was further subdivided into railway police stations and posts. In addition, the search service of the German Federal Railroad was set up as a criminal police at the main administration.

On April 1, 1992, the railway police were disbanded and transferred to the Federal Border Police, which was renamed the Federal Police on July 1, 2005 (see below). Most of the railway police officers switched to the Federal Border Police in 1992.

The task of the railway police is now regulated in Section 3 of the Federal Police Act and no longer in the Railway Construction and Operating Regulations and only applies to the railway systems of the federal railways. In the area of ​​non-federally owned railways, the responsible state authority is responsible.

Members of the GDR transport police in 1961

Territory of the Deutsche Reichsbahn

As early as 1946, a proper railway police was set up again in the Soviet occupation zone. This was no longer incorporated into the Deutsche Reichsbahn , but subordinated to the German Interior Administration, from 1949 the Ministry of the Interior of the GDR . Since 1949 this police was called the Transport Police , in which the railway and water police were brought together; the latter was spun off again in 1952. The Transport Police, which continued to be named as such, was, with an interruption from 1953 to 1957, during which it was part of the State Security , a branch of the People's Police . The main task of the transport police was to ward off dangers from the railway and was set up in a paramilitary manner. It was divided into protection and criminal police, which were responsible for all crimes committed on the railway premises. In addition to the earlier tasks of the railway police, train escort commandos (ZBK) carried out the control and monitoring of passengers, a large number of the police officers were active in property protection , and there were also operational companies, i.e. riot police . The workforce was correspondingly high, fluctuating between 5500 and 8900 over the years.

Development in West Berlin

Due to the fact that the railway operations for the whole of Berlin were transferred to the Deutsche Reichsbahn , the transport police were initially also active there. However, while the Western Allies saw the railway construction and operating regulations of 1928 as the legal basis for the activities of the transport police, these actually proceeded according to GDR regulations. These differing legal views related to the conflict over the status of Berlin - the GDR claimed sovereign rights over the Reichsbahn and Reichswasserraßen premises in West Berlin - and the hatred of the West Berlin population for the uniformed representatives of the GDR state power repeatedly led to problems. These reached a first high point with the S-Bahn strike in 1949 , where violent clashes broke out with the participation of the later transport police, which also resulted in deaths. The Allied Command , from which the Soviet Union has since stayed away, then transferred “Maintaining law and order” to the West Berlin police at West Berlin stations. The other tasks remained with the later transport police.

After the Berlin Wall was erected on August 13, 1961, the situation of the uniformed transport police in West Berlin became increasingly untenable. One of the slogans of the onset of the S-Bahn boycott was "Transport police out of free Berlin", there were attacks, and the appearance of uniformed transport police intensified the violence. On January 30, 1962, a railway police of the Deutsche Reichsbahn was created, which replaced the protective police of the transport police in West Berlin. The railway police carried only a baton as armament, their relatives were exclusively German residents of the western sectors of Berlin . The mutual pasting of wanted posters by the railway police and West Berlin police finally led to a further order by the Allied Command on August 21, 1962, which adopted the Railway Construction and Operating Regulations (EBO) as the legal basis and the consequences thereof, as well as the priority of orders from the commanders the sectors clarified. In deviation from the handover of arrested persons to the local police prescribed in the EBO and from the fact that there was no regulation for a specially competent criminal police, the Reichsbahn regulations obliged the railway police in such cases to involve the criminal police department of the transport police, which GDR law was responsible for all criminal offenses on railway territory. The conflicts therefore continued at this level until the end of the GDR: The West Berlin judiciary led to investigative and criminal proceedings for presumption against transport police officers working in the West and for aiding and abetting railway police officers. The processing of a fatal rail accident in early 1973, when investigating transport police officers were planning to take the body to the forensic medicine department in East Berlin, attracted particular attention when they were arrested by West Berlin police and later convicted of continued presumption of office .

New regulation through the accession of the GDR

Due to the Unification Treaty, the transport police were dissolved on September 30, 1990. On October 3, 1990, around 1700 of the 2008 employees were transferred to the Federal Border Police (now the Federal Police), which was also responsible for railway police duties on the Reichsbahn premises in the 1967 railroad construction and operating regulations, which was much more restrictive than GDR law.

Federal police patrol car at Berlin Südkreuz train station .

Current organization of the railway police tasks

In the area of ​​long-distance railways

The tasks of the railway police were incumbent on the Federal Border Police in the new federal states on the basis of the Unification Treaty of August 31, 1990 since October 3, 1990.

The police tasks of the full-time railway police and the search service in the other federal states were assigned to the then Federal Border Guard (today: Federal Police ) by Section 2a of the Act on Transferring the Duties of the Railway Police and Aviation Security to the Federal Border Guard (so-called "Task Transfer Act ") of January 23, 1992 . It came into force on April 1, 1992 (regulation in § 3 BPolG ). According to this, the Federal Police has the task of fending off dangers to public safety and order on the territory of the federal railways

  1. threaten the users, the facilities or the operation of the railway or
  2. arise during the operation of the railway or
  3. proceed from the railway facilities.

This also includes measures of criminal prosecution and the processing of certain offenses that were committed in the area of ​​the railway facilities of the federal railways and are directed against the safety of a user, the facilities or the operation of the railway or the assets of the railway or assets entrusted to it affect; as well as the criminal offense of dangerous interference in rail traffic according to § 315 III No. 1 StGB . This does not affect the factual responsibility of the state police in the area of ​​the railway facilities for criminal prosecution measures that are not related to the tasks mentioned.

Overall, the area of ​​responsibility extends to an approx. 33,500 km long route network with approx. 5,700 train stations and stops.

Emergency vehicle of the Munich subway station, also accident rescue vehicle

In the area of ​​local public transport

Since around the year 2000, monitoring tasks have often been transferred from local railway departments in Germany to private security services , especially in local passenger transport , such as B. by the Hochbahn -Wache of Hamburg and the U-Bahn-Wache in Munich , as well as the DB Sicherheit . However, these companies have neither the powers of the federal police nor those of the former railway police. So you are not allowed to intervene in the operation, but are solely responsible for enforcing house rights on behalf of the owner ( Deutsche Bahn AG or local railway company). For all further measures you need the help of the federal police or a state police or the supervisory authority responsible under state or federal law.


A real railway police for the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) was not set up until the end of the 1990s. Previously, members of the railway staff were sworn in by the railway police and performed this function on the side. After they were sworn in, they were equipped with an orderly revolver / pistol of the Swiss Army until 1993 .

When local trains ran unaccompanied more and more frequently in the early 1990s and attacks on travelers and property damage increased, in-house people were first recruited in the Zurich area and trained as railway police officers (Bapo) to accompany trains on the Zurich S-Bahn.

In 2002 the railway police were outsourced to Securitrans AG, founded by SBB and the security group Securitas AG . The company is 51 percent owned by SBB and 49 percent by Securitas. In 2009, the railway police were completely taken over by the SBB and renamed the SBB transport police.

The legal basis was initially the Railway Police Act, which assured the railway police that they would be treated equally with the respective cantonal police. Since this law from 1878 was no longer up-to-date, the Federal Law on the Safety Bodies of Transport Companies in Public Transport (BGST) was passed by the Swiss Parliament in 2010 . This new law severely restricted the police powers of the railway police, now the transport police. However, as part of the Ordinance on the Security Bodies of Transport Companies in Public Transport (VST) , the Federal Council allowed transport police officers to carry a firearm from 2012. The SBB set up an extensive network of bases.

The transport police officers are mainly trained together with aspirants from the cantonal police forces of the Northwestern Switzerland Police Concordat at the Intercantonal Police School in Hitzkirch in the canton of Lucerne.

For years, the SBB made considerable profits with the railway police, although this area was actually not allowed to make any profits . The cantons had to pay the railway police bills but did not notice that they were excessive. Business documents available to the observer show that one of the inventors of the subsidy scheme was Peter Füglistaler, now head of the Federal Office of Transport .


In Austria there is no separate police body for the railway area, which means that the federal police and any existing community guards are also responsible for carrying out police duties on railway premises . However, in accordance with Section 30 of the 1957 Railway Act, the railway companies are obliged to appoint railway supervisory bodies who are officially sworn in and who are responsible for monitoring compliance with railway safety regulations. The security service operated by ÖBB through its subsidiary MUNGOS Safe and Clean GmbH & Co KG , which monitors compliance with the house rules in stations, has no regular police powers.

In 2018, Wiener Linien created the Wiener Linien Security service . The 120 employees not only monitor the house rules, but are also appointed to railway supervisory bodies and have the corresponding powers.

Other European countries with railway police


The railway police, founded in 1891, were made up of employees of the SNCB , who had only limited police powers, until their incorporation into the Belgian gendarmerie in 1999 . Since 2001 the Railway Police (French Police des chemins de fer , Dutch Spoorwegpolitie ) has been part of the Belgian Federal Police .

British Transport Police officers at Waterloo Railway Station in London

Great Britain

The British Transport Police (BTP, Heddlu Trafnidiaeth Prydeinig in Welsh ) is the police force responsible for rail transport in Great Britain. In Northern Ireland , the Police Service of Northern Ireland has also taken on this task.

In 2007 the BTP had 2,774 police officers, 258 members of special forces and 1,414 employees in England, Scotland and Wales. The Chief Constable of the British Transport Police is Ian Johnston CBE.

The BTP is regionally divided into the following districts:

  • Wales and West
  • Scotland
  • Northeast
  • northwest
  • North London
  • London South
  • London Underground


The Polizia Ferroviaria (Polfer) is one of the four specialized organizational areas of the Polizia di Stato in Italy, alongside Polizia Stradale (traffic police ), Polizia Postale e delle Comunicazioni (postal and telecommunications) and Polizia di Frontiera (border police). It is primarily intended to guarantee safety in the stations and trains.


The Dutch Railway Police ( Spoorwegpolitie ) was part of the Corps Landelijke Politiediensten (KLPD) until 2013 and was specially trained for common crimes in public transport. She was responsible for safety on railway lines, on trains and at stations (only Amsterdam , Rotterdam , Utrecht and The Hague ). Since the restructuring of the Dutch police and the dissolution of the KLPD on January 1, 2013, railway police tasks have been taken over by the Dutch National Police ( Nationale Politie ).


In Romania , the Politia Transporturi Feroviare - as part of the state police - is responsible for rail traffic.


In Slovakia , the railway police under the name Zeleznicná Polícia Slovenskej Republiky (ZP SR) are responsible for security on railway lines, in stations and trains.

Countries outside Europe with railway police

Amtrak Police vehicle outside Washington Union Station

United States

In the USA, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation ( Amtrak ) has its own police agency, the Amtrak Police Department. Aside from that, there are other diverse rail and transit police forces at the state level.

International cooperation

The official international cooperation between the various railway police and railway companies takes place in Europe within the framework of COLPOFER ( Collaboration des services de police ferroviaire et de sécurité ), a body affiliated to the International Union of Railways (UIC). In addition, RAILPOL is an international informal network of all European railway police authorities and organizations.

Web links

Wiktionary: Bahnpolizei  - explanations of meanings, origin of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Law Gazette 1992 Part I, page 178
  2. Protection against attacks on the safety of rail traffic. Federal Police, accessed on August 9, 2020 .
  3. Federal Act on the Safety Bodies of Transport Companies in Public Transport (BGST) on the federal website ( admin.ch )
  4. Ordinance on the safety organs of transport companies in public transport (VST) on the federal website ( admin.ch )
  5. Yves Demuth: The SBB have also hidden profits , March 13, 2018, accessed on October 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Railway supervisory bodies . Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, accessed on January 14, 2020 .
  7. Chronicle: Subway security officers are allowed to arrest. ORF Landesstudio Vienna, October 12, 2019, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  8. New security and service package for public transport. Wiener Linien, accessed on January 14, 2020 .
  9. ^ Official website of the Amtrak Police Department