Criminal police

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The criminal police (colloquially: Kripo ) is that part of the police that - in contrast to the protection police - basically deals with the prosecution of crimes and their prevention.


The forms of organization of the criminal police are different in the Federal Republic of Germany, since police matters basically fall within the jurisdiction of the federal states . This means that the criminal investigation department can be structured and organized differently in each country. However, since the criminal police are responsible for the fight against serious crime everywhere, there are certain areas of crime that are processed by the criminal police everywhere. This includes the following areas of crime:

The members of the Federal Criminal Police Office , the State Criminal Police Office and the local criminal police offices usually wear civilian clothes. You are a law enforcement officer and identify yourself with a criminal service badge and ID card .

The Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter is a professional body that was founded specifically for detectives .



The first beginnings of the criminal police can be found in Berlin . In 1799, six police officers in Berlin were assigned to the Berlin criminal court and were allowed to carry out all investigations and interrogations necessary to clear up crimes and offenses . In exceptional cases, they were allowed to perform their duties without wearing a uniform. In fact, they were the first detectives in Germany.

Chest tag of the criminal police

The police's ability to investigate criminal cases was declared by the Berlin Police Regulations of April 1, 1811. The police authority was allowed to investigate criminal offenses on its own responsibility and to deal with the cases without having to consult the courts immediately. In 1820, the job title Kriminalkommissar was introduced in Berlin , but the organizational separation between protection and criminal police did not take place until 1872. This was the hour of birth of an independent criminal police organization in Prussia , which was later adopted in other parts of Germany.

In addition to Berlin, the police were reformed in Bremen (1853) and Hamburg (1875). By the end of the 19th century, all major German cities had criminal police. After this specialization had prevailed in the police, a division into crime fields was not far: in 1855 the first homicide commission was called in Berlin on the occasion of the Dickerhoff murder . The identification service was founded in Berlin in 1886 .

The need for supra-regional cooperation was recognized early on. Consequently, at a police conference in Berlin in 1897, the creation of a central office was called for in order to ensure better cooperation between the states and free cities.

Weimar Republic

In 1925 the Prussian State Criminal Police Office was founded as the central office, from which the Reich Criminal Police Office emerged in 1937 . Central offices were also set up in the other countries.

The female criminal police , which emerged in the 1920s, was primarily responsible for underage offenders, victims and witnesses and existed until the 1970s.

The International Criminal Police Commission (IKPK), the forerunner of today's Interpol , was founded in Vienna on September 7, 1923 . Their goal was to improve the exchange of messages and modernize the fight against crime. For this purpose, a central fingerprint file was introduced and the international arrest warrant created.

In the Weimar Republic, the Kripo was subject to a rapid modernization trend like hardly any branch of internal administration. This modernization and professionalization pressure from politics and the public was certainly also triggered by spectacular crimes, such as sexual, child or serial killers, criminal " ring clubs " or notorious burglar gangs, whose cases affect both the readership of the new mass media and politics called the plan to vehemently demand a modernization of the criminal police. The brothers and safe hackers Franz and Erich Sass (Berlin) or the serial killers Fritz Haarmann (Hanover) and Peter Kürten (Düsseldorf) are among the best-known examples of how crimes have been perceived and controversially discussed through public discourse. Accordingly, the following working methods were fundamentally reformed or completely re-introduced in the 1920s alone: dactyloscopy , a professional analysis of burns, communication via telephones and telex, the efficient use of file systems, identification services and evidence security, prophylaxis and reconnaissance, the creation of a female Criminal Police and, last but not least, a general change of image to “friend and helper”.

National Socialism

During the reign of the Nazis and the German police were brought into line . While the Weimar Republic was still perceived as a humiliating constitutional state , which had many formal restrictions on detective work in the “fight against criminality” ( Kurt Daluege ), after 1933 people felt freed from such shackles in detective circles. As early as 1933, the “ Customs Criminal Law ”, which was announced in 1933, enormously expanded the scope of the criminal investigation department against alleged habitual or professional criminals, but it was a rejection of the democratic constitutional state. After 1933, crime lobbyists and theorists were instrumental in driving this development forward, and crime work was increasingly subordinated to Nazi ideology.

In addition, the criminal investigation department has now been fundamentally restructured and centralized: after Heinrich Himmler was appointed head of the German police in 1936, the criminal investigation department was assigned to the main security police office . The so far only planned Reich Criminal Police Office (RKPA) was established in 1936/1937 and given appropriate powers. Criminal Police Control Centers (KpLSt) in Königsberg i. Pr. , Stettin , Berlin (RKPA as KpLSt), Breslau , Halle an der Saale , Hanover , Frankfurt am Main , Cologne , Düsseldorf , Munich , Dresden , Stuttgart , Hamburg , Bremen and later Vienna , Reichenberg , Danzig and Posen . Criminal police stations (KpSt) were in turn subordinate to these control centers. A KpLSt also performed the tasks of a KpSt for its area. The allocation of the seats of the offices was not only based on criminal geography, but also on the basis of party political power relations. For example, the KpLSt Düsseldorf was responsible for the Ruhr area, although from a geographical point of view Essen would have been more suitable. However, Düsseldorf was chosen because of the higher ranking police leader. The basis for this reorganization was the circular issued on September 20, 1936 on the reorganization of the Reich Criminal Police .

On the basis of the “Fundamental Decree on the Preventive Fight against Crime by the Police” of the Reich Ministry of the Interior of December 14, 1937, the persecution pressure of the National Socialist police was expanded to include alleged “professional criminals ”, “ anti-social ” and “ work-shy ”, homeless people, migrant workers, Sinti and Roma , Prostitutes and homosexuals. In the so-called "Gypsy Basic Decree" of December 8, 1939, the criminal police were given the task of providing assembly camps. Theorists of criminology or protagonists of the criminal investigation ( Robert Heindl , Robert Ritter or Paul Werner ) tried to explain crime exclusively as the result of a lack of hereditary hygiene ( criminal biology ) and thus to lead the preventive fight against crime only with the means of eliminating social racism against all outsiders and marginalized groups have to. The historian Patrick Wagner estimates that against this background, a total of around 80,000 people were deported to concentration camps by the Kripo at random . The central power of this decree was the police regular surveillance and the police preventive detention . Thousands of people were arrested and abducted in the June 1938 campaign alone . The Kripo was also involved in the mass crimes of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD from 1939 onwards. The German criminal police are primarily responsible for the genocide of the Sinti and Roma ( Porajmos ).

Arthur Nebe , the head of the Reich Criminal Police Office, for example, meanwhile headed SS Einsatzgruppe B, which was responsible for 45,467 murder victims counted in the relevant operational reports. Furthermore, in 1939 from the Secret State Police Office , the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt and the Sicherheitsdienst the Reichssicherheitshauptamt under the leadership of Heydrich established. Nebe remained head of the German police until 1944. His successor became SS-Obersturmbannführer and Oberregierungsrat Friedrich Panzinger on August 15, 1944 .

post war period

A year after the end of the Second World War , the badges used by criminal police officers in Berlin were often forged. There were so many "fake detectives" with forged "tin stamps" robbing harmless citizens with given house search warrants that the Berliner Zeitung spoke of a "plague".

Federal Republic

Towards the end of the Second World War , the victorious powers decided at the Yalta and Potsdam conferences to denazify , demilitarize , democratize and decentralize the police force in Germany . The individual military governments of the Allies built the police in their zones of occupation according to their ideas. Decentralization resulted in the responsibility of the federal states and meant, in terms of the fight against crime, that the traveling and supra-local perpetrators could no longer be fought effectively. That is why the victorious powers allowed the Parliamentary Council to introduce a special regulation for the criminal police in Articles 73 and 87 of the Basic Law (GG): “Cooperation between the federal government and the states must not extend to the entire police system, but only to it the criminal police. ”In addition, the Parliamentary Council also described the activities of the criminal police, namely:“ Preventing, uncovering and prosecuting important crimes. ”

With the entry into force of the Basic Law on May 23, 1949 , Art. 73 stipulated that the federal government "has the exclusive legislative power over [...] cooperation between the federal government and the states in the criminal police ..." . To this end, the law on the establishment of a Federal Criminal Police Office was created in March 1951 . At the same time, Land Criminal Police Offices were set up in the federal states to ensure coordination and information control within the federal states.

The advancing specialization in the criminal police made it necessary to further subdivide the range of fields of application. At the beginning of the 1990s there was a trend within the police forces of the federal states to discontinue specialization. This was expressed both in the training of the junior police officers and in the form of organization. In many police forces in the federal states, the criminal police as a separate branch within the police, the relevant career groups were abolished and specialist training abolished.

German Democratic Republic

The criminal police of the German Democratic Republic was part of the German People's Police .

EU and international

At the European level, police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters is carried out by Europol .

At the international level, police cooperation is carried out by Interpol . In Germany , the BKA acts as the national central office.

See also


  • Friedrich Wilhelm: "The police in the Nazi state: the history of their organization at a glance" , ISBN 3-506-77513-8 .
  • Imanuel Baumann: "On the trail of crime" , ISBN 3-8353-0008-3 .
  • Patrick Wagner: "National community without criminals" , ISBN 3-89244-912-0 .
  • Police Berlin: "History of the criminal police in Berlin from 1945" .

Individual evidence

  1. Printed by Wolfgang Ayaß (arr.): "Community foreigners". Sources on the persecution of "anti-social" 1933–1945 , Koblenz 1998, no. 50.
  2. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm, Die Polizei im NS-Staat, Paderborn 1999, ISBN 3-506-77513-8 , p. 254.
  3. Patrick Wagner: Volksgemeinschaft without criminal. Concepts and practice of the criminal police during the Weimar Republic and National Socialism. Christians, Hamburg 1996, (Hamburg contributions to social and contemporary history 34).
  4. ^ Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945 . S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, p. 430 u. 660.
  5. Don't fall for every tin brand! Flood of false detectives , in: Berliner Zeitung of March 14, 1946, issue 61.
  6. Maunz / Dürig, Commentary on the Basic Law , Art. 73, Rn. 157.
  7. Maunz / Dürig, Commentary on the Basic Law , Art. 87, Rn. 139.