Federal Gendarmerie

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AustriaAustria  Bundesgendarmerie
Former security guard in Austriap1
State level Federation
At sight federal Ministry of Internal Affairs
founding June 8, 1849 as a kk gendarmerie
Dissolved July 1, 2005 (transfer to the Federal Police)
Headquarters Vienna
Corps badge of the Federal Gendarmerie
Illuminated panel at gendarmerie posts

The Federal Gendarmerie was a civil security body at the federal level in Austria , but organized according to a military model . It was police responsible for around two thirds of the population on around 98% of the Austrian territory. With the amalgamation of the gendarmerie, the federal security guard corps and the criminal police corps on July 1, 2005, the federal gendarmerie was transferred to the federal police .

The history of the Austrian gendarmerie

Kk Gendarmerie until 1918

The idea of ​​founding the gendarmerie (from French gens d'armes - "people with arms") dates back to the revolution of 1848 . On June 8, 1849, it was formed as part of the Imperial and Royal Army ; Field Marshal Lieutenant Johann Franz Kempen, Baron von Fichtenstamm was the first "General Gendarmerie Inspector". Conceived as a militarily organized guard, initially for the entire Habsburg Monarchy , the kk gendarmerie withdrew from the Hungarian part of the empire ( Transleithanien ) in 1867 , where from then on Hungarian bodies such as the ku gendarmerie, founded in 1881, monitored the maintenance of public order. From 1876 the Austrian gendarmerie was under the leadership of the Imperial and Royal Landwehr Ministry . The Austro-Hungarian War Ministry was then only responsible for the joint armed forces of the two states of the real union Austria-Hungary .

The direct forerunner was the gendarmerie regiment of the Lombardy - Venetian kingdom, which fell to Austria after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Until then, only the " Military Police-Wach-Corps " established in 1776 (since 1840: "Military Police Commands") in the larger cities (Vienna, Lemberg, Cracow, Przemysl and others) was known as a militarily organized watch corps .

The task of the kk gendarmerie was to maintain public order and security. In addition to fighting crime , the kk gendarmerie was later, in the time of neo-absolutism , politically instrumentalized, which earned it the hatred of the bourgeoisie.

Even before the First World War , dactyloscopy and police dogs were introduced to the gendarmerie .

During the First World War, the gendarmerie was used in the hinterland, but also as a field gendarmerie . After the war it remained organized militarily , but was assigned to civilian tasks. As a remnant of the military structure, the gendarmes were not put on an equal footing with the other state officials until 1918 and placed under civil jurisdiction (previously, military courts were responsible for the gendarmes).

The military origins were reflected after the conversion into a civil guard in 1918 in the retention of the old corps badge, which represents a stylized grenade . The gray uniform color was also based on the adjustment of the historic Landwehr.

The time up to the Second World War

After the lost World War, the number of gendarmes was also significantly reduced, given the shrinking size of Austria. In 1934 the gendarmerie was again embroiled in domestic political struggles and the National Socialists began to infiltrate them. After the “ Anschluss ” in 1938, many high-ranking gendarmes were interned in concentration camps and, in addition, a large number of gendarmes were imprisoned, released, retired or transferred to prison. The remainder were incorporated into the German Ordnungspolizei .

The rank designations used under the monarchy were changed in 1919 (see here ) and again in 1920 with an order of January 17 as follows: Officials outside the existing rank system were provisional gendarme , gendarme and gendarmerie patrol chief . The queued in rank classes officials were ascending divided into Zeitvorrückungsgruppe E ( Gendarmerie rayon inspector , district inspector , district inspector ) and Zeitvorrückungsgruppe C ( police department inspector or gendarmerie economy commissioner , Inspector II. Class or economy High Commissioner , Inspector, First Class and Business Council , Central Director and State Director or Economic Inspector ).

Graduated rosettes replaced the graded strips introduced in 1919. Officials outside the ranking system put on silver rosettes, gold rosettes for all others up to and including gendarmerie department inspector or gendarmerie economic commissioner. From the eighth class, i.e. from the rank of gendarmerie chief inspector or gendarmerie chief commissioner upwards, a 4 cm wide gold patterned collar border and silver rosettes. Officials outside the ranking system also wore a vertical, 5 mm wide silver braid 8 cm from the end of the collar. Officials of the time advancement group E wore one to three gold bracelets (7 cm long, 5 mm wide) as functional badges on the left sleeve; with officials of the IX. In the first class, the wafers were 2.2 cm wide.

The period from 1945 until the gendarmerie was dissolved in 2005

Sleeve badge of the Federal Gendarmerie
Gendarmerie motorcycle (BMW R 80, model year 12/1993, in use until 10/2006 with registration number BG-2855), Museum St.Veit

With the re-establishment of the Republic of Austria in 1945, a gendarmerie command was established. At the beginning, the power of disposal over the executive was controversial, which is why the gendarmerie initially had to make do with few officials. However, this situation soon improved to such an extent that the gendarmerie was again able to guarantee a minimum of state order. When the Communist Party called a general strike in October 1950 , it was due, among other things, to the careful use of the security forces that the October uprising could be ended relatively bloodlessly.

In 1952 the B-Gendarmerie , a gendarmerie unit reinforced with heavy weapons, was set up, which after the conclusion of the State Treaty formed the basis of the Federal Army . It is not certain whether the abbreviation “B” should stand for standby or special gendarmerie . This paramilitary unit should have been deployed in the event of an invasion by the Soviet army in the western occupation zones of Austria.

Gendarmerie patrol car
50 Schilling silver coin on the occasion of 125 years of the Gendarmerie (1974)

Until June 30, 2005, the Federal Gendarmerie was, alongside the Federal Security Guard Corps and the Criminal Police Corps, a civilian guard in Austria , albeit a military one . The gendarmerie was locally responsible for all parts of Austria. Exceptions were the federal capital Vienna and the provincial capitals (except Bregenz ) as well as a few other larger cities in Austria (mostly statutory cities ). Overall, there were police in the 15 largest cities in Austria (with the exception of the Vorarlberg cities of Dornbirn , Feldkirch and Bregenz), the gendarmerie was responsible for the rest. It thus ensured the safety of around two thirds of the population on around 98% of the Austrian territory.

Gendarmerie post

In addition to the individual gendarmerie posts in the municipalities, which have been increasingly amalgamated recently, there was a traffic department, a crime department (and not, as in many TV series, the "Kripo") and a border gendarmerie. For special missions the gendarmerie maintained special units such as B. dog handlers, alpine pawns, flight rescuers and radiation detectors.

The attack on OPEC in 1975 led to the establishment of a special Gendarmerie Command, the Gendarmerie Einsatzkommando GEK "Cobra", which is now known as the Einsatzkommando Cobra (EKO Cobra). This special unit trains near Wiener Neustadt and is alerted primarily in the event of acts of terrorism and kidnapping , but also in other particularly dangerous operations .

Furthermore, there have been so-called sky marshals within the scope of the Cobra since 1981 , who fly as civil companions on endangered flights of Austrian airlines .

In addition to the GEK Cobra as “the” elite unit in Austria, each regional gendarmerie command also had “special task forces SEG” for operations with a medium risk level. The SEG officers were former GEK men who then returned to the respective gendarmerie posts and were drawn together in an emergency. SEG formed the spearhead for larger missions until the arrival of the GEK and were z. B. intended for dangerous alarm manhunters to support the regional posts.

For large-scale operations such as large events, concerts, football games, demonstrations, ... there was also a "Gendarmerie Einsatzeinheit EE" in each federal state. This consisted of specially trained gendarmes who were also drawn together from the individual posts during an operation.

As part of the reorganization of the Austrian guards, which has been ongoing since 2002, the gendarmerie, federal security guard corps and criminal police corps were to be merged. On December 9, 2004, the National Council decided, with the votes of the ÖVP and FPÖ , that the merger will take place on July 1, 2005 and that there will then only be one unified security body called the Federal Police .

At the time when the gendarmerie, federal security guard corps and criminal officer corps were merged to form the federal police on July 1, 2005, the former comprised around 15,000 officers.

In the course of the reform and amalgamation to form the new Federal Police, attempts were made to impose the “old” gendarmerie system, which appeared unsuitable in terms of service in the federal capital Vienna, on the areas of responsibility of the former federal security guard.

Due to the traditionally greater influence of the gendarmerie in the area of ​​the interior ministry, it is criticized that the amalgamation was also taking place under the leadership of the former gendarmes. This can also be seen from the fact that an overwhelming part of the top positions within the new Federal Police were occupied by former gendarmes. This criticism is summarized under the slogan "Police is on it, gendarmerie is inside". What this meant for the quality of work, especially in urban areas, was also shown by the assessment of former top civil servants, who came to similar conclusions.

The public is not yet fully used to the new name. So even now one often reads about the alpine gendarmerie in the media, in the media police posts (from gendarmerie posts) are often used instead of police inspectors and the slang term “Schandi” (= gendarme) is still used.

After the dissolution, the symbol of the gendarmerie , the flaming grenade, was adopted in a slightly modified form by the command military patrol and military police (Kdo MilStrf & MP), a new special unit of the Austrian Armed Forces , which was set up in 2007 . The grenade was chosen because it is known nationally and internationally (many MP associations have it in their coats of arms) and has always been a symbol of elite military units.

From 1945 to 2005, 260 gendarmerie officers were killed on duty, 71 of them as a result of violent crimes.

Former organizational structure


Individual evidence

  1. Der Standard: "Three against the power of ministers"

Web links

Commons : Gendarmerie (Austria)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files