Law enforcement officer

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PVB of the Hamburg police with submachine gun HK MP5

Polizeivollzugsbeamte (abbreviation PVB ) in Germany are the police officers in the public service of the federal or state governments who are entrusted with the enforcement service of the police ( Polizeivollzugsdienst , PVD ) and count among the enforcement officers .

Most of these civil servants are uniformed ; one of several exceptions is the criminal police .

Law enforcement officers are clerks and administrators , such as other police officers , traffic wardens , interpreters and technicians supported.

In some countries, the PVB are also supported by the voluntary police service (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Saxony) or by the police on watch (Berlin, Hesse and Saxony).


PVB work at the federal states ( state police ) or at the federal level ( federal police , federal criminal investigation office and police at the German Bundestag ).

There are around 256,300 law enforcement officers working in Germany (as of September 2018). There are careers of middle (mPVD), upper (gPVD) and higher police enforcement service (hPVD).

The higher service career also includes the presidents and inspectors of the police at state level, the inspector of the riot police of the states , the presidents and vice-presidents of the federal police headquarters and the federal police academy, the directors of the federal police (in the federal police headquarters) and the president of the federal police headquarters at the federal level. However, these offices are not held regularly. In some countries these are also political officials .

Until the 1960s (longer in some countries) there was still the career of simple service, which also made up the majority. Today, the middle and upper service is dominant. In almost all federal states, the higher-level service predominates, with the exception of the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria and the new federal states. In Bavaria, however, there are almost only high-level officials in the criminal police .

Some federal states (for example Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia ) have already abolished the medium-sized service because, according to the reasons for the corresponding amendment laws, the complex range of tasks no longer meets the requirements of the PVB in the medium-sized service. This civil service career will expire there through retirement or promotions to the higher service.

There is a police guard in Berlin , Hesse and Saxony . This consists of uniformed employees who have received short police training. In Berlin, the official designation is Zentraler Objektschutz Berlin , which has replaced the earlier designation "Wachpolizei" .

In Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria there is a special career path for business criminals in the higher service who deal with the investigation of white-collar crimes. There is also this in Bavaria for the career of the Internet criminalist. The prerequisite for this career is a relevant technical college or vocational college degree and at least three years of professional experience. Instead of the professional activity, the final examination for the middle police force can also be proven. The candidates receive an additional briefing and are hired as detective inspectors. You can only start your career until December 31, 2013. The possibility of changing to other activities of the police enforcement service is only possible after recognition of the general career qualification by the Ministry of the Interior, depending on the suitability of the officer.

In Berlin, in addition to the normal career of the criminal police, there is also a separate career of the commercial field service (careers in the upper and higher service). Special official designations are provided in the higher-level service (addition of "trade" instead of "criminal" to the official designations, e.g. trade commissioner). In the higher service, the official designations of the higher criminal service (e.g. Kriminalrat) are used.

The official titles of the police officers in the German states:

Protection police Criminal police
Preparatory service
Police Chief Candidate (PMA) The rank comparable to the PMA is currently no longer to be found in the criminal investigation department, since here the training only takes place in the upper class.
Police Commissioner Candidate (PKA or PKAnw.) Criminal Investigator Candidate (KKA) (in some countries the training takes place separately, in others only with the police)
Medium Grade
Police Chief (PM) Detective Master (KM)
Police Chief Master (POM) Kriminalobermeister (KOM)
Police Chief Master (PHM) Kriminalhauptmeister (KHM)
Police chief with AZ /
higher service
Police Commissioner (PK) Criminal Inspector (KK)
Police High Commissioner (POK) Criminal Superintendent (KOK)
Police Chief Commissioner (PHK) Chief Detective Commissioner (KHK)
First Police Chief Inspector (EPHK) First Chief Inspector (EKHK)
higher service
Police Board (PR) Kriminalrat (KR)
Higher Police Council (POR) Chief Criminal Police Officer (KOR)
Police Director (PD) Criminal Director (KD)
Chief Police Director (LPD) Chief Detective Director (LKD)

In the higher service there are other official titles for management positions, e.g. B. Police inspector:

  • In Berlin, after the Chief Police Director, “Director at the President” and “First Director at the President”.
  • In Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony and Saxony also police chief (in Baden-Wuerttemberg with the distinction as head of a police headquarters or as head of the police department in the regional council or as head of the police headquarters in Stuttgart).
  • In Baden-Württemberg the state criminal director, who reports to the state police president and is on an equal footing with the police inspector.

Color of the cap straps:

  • Medium service: green or blue
  • High service: silver
  • Higher service: gold

The civil servants in the middle and upper service are in all countries, those of the higher service in some countries are usually only up to the chief police / criminal director (e.g. Baden-Württemberg, there only if they are not the head of an authority ) Investigators from the public prosecutor's office .

Police officers are appointed revocable officers during training / studies. After successfully completing the 1st training level, they become civil servants on probation / employment. The trial period is at least two years. After that, police officers become officers for life.

The police forces of the federal states listed above also include state criminal police offices , which are also subordinate to the respective interior ministries, but represent their own authorities.

Service area

Police of the countries

The service area of ​​the PVB of a state police is limited to the state and there, as a rule, also to its area of ​​activity (in Baden-Württemberg the area of ​​the police enforcement service is the state). However, if there is imminent danger, they are also entitled to work outside their service district in the same country. In other countries they are active if they are entitled to do so on the basis of a state treaty between the countries, if the state government requests support or in an emergency or defense situation .

Federal Police

Federal PVB are active throughout the federal territory (see Federal Police Act (BPolG) ). However, officials of the Federal Criminal Police Office may only act on the basis of instructions from the public prosecutor or the state police if there is an external effect.

Officials of the federal police may only in their areas of responsibility, outside of this range may act only at the request of the state government or in emergency or defense. Officials of the German Parliament Police may act only on the premises of the Bundestag. In the case of imminent danger , however, all federal PVB may also act outside their actual area.

PVB of the higher service of the BKA with foreign language skills are also as liaison officers abroad. The BKA also sends law enforcement officers to identify dead Germans abroad.

Foreign police officers

Foreign police officers are only allowed to work in Germany if they have been authorized to do so by the competent state authority. Some states (e.g. North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony ) have concluded state treaties for the border area that regulate the rights of civil servants in the respective foreign state. This is especially intended to facilitate the pursuit .

foreign countries

A special feature and a novelty are foreign deployments of the German police within the framework of the United Nations (UN) . Furthermore, PVD may operate in Switzerland and France based on international treaties under certain circumstances, as well as PVB of the countries mentioned in Germany (cf. Nacheile ).


German Police Officer Act (PBG) of June 24, 1937

Until part of the 20th century , the military exercised executive power or at least supported the police in the form of a paramilitary gendarmerie . The Reich Criminal Police Office was created in Germany in the 1920s . However, due to legal regulations (the federal states had to determine that the use of the RKPA was necessary throughout the entire Reich), it proved to be inefficient until the beginning of the Nazi regime .

During the time of National Socialism , the police structure was completely changed. Under the direction of Heinrich Himmler , from 1936 ' Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police', the police were forcibly partly merged with the SS to form the Security Police , while other police units were, also by decree, part of the new Ordnungspolizei , which later became part of the police the fire department also belonged. The RKPA became part of the Reich Security Main Office under the leadership of the notorious Reinhard Heydrich (later: Ernst Kaltenbrunner ), and the state police were effectively dissolved.

After the war, new state police were initially formed. In 1951 , the Federal Border Guard (now Federal Police ) was created from the Federal Passport Control Service and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) . The police at the German Bundestag was established as early as 1949 . As with the Bundeswehr and the others o. A. Organizations, the staff - especially the management staff - was recruited from officials who had also served under the National Socialists. The brown roots of the post-war police (also in the GDR, by the way) were already known at that time and could not be avoided, as no other specialist staff could be obtained. The community and city police forces created after the end of World War II (mainly in the American Zone ) were not nationalized until the 1970s.

Only the federal and state police remained, which were subordinate to ministries at the respective level.

Tasks and activities (exercise)

PVB are representatives of the state and are particularly obliged to law and order. The core task is to maintain public safety and order ; The primary task is to avert danger . Furthermore, she has to carry out traffic tasks ( traffic regulation , traffic statistics) and is active in the field of law enforcement (repressive action). Furthermore, the PVB is responsible for the execution of assigned tasks according to the law on regulatory offenses (prosecution of traffic offenses ) and z. T. of local law . Repression, as well as activities in the area of ​​events and meetings, represent the main field of activity of today's police.

The PVB on the patrol work off missions , e.g. In some cases, they also become active when they see things themselves or when passers-by tell them (“self-engagement”). Most of the PVB are also investigators for the public prosecutor's office . Another sub-area of ​​the tasks is the execution of arrest warrants (also in the context of the execution of sentences ), the provision of administrative and enforcement assistance (e.g. support of bailiffs , deportation , information from various large files).

PVB are on duty when they are on regular duty. You can also put yourself in the service of your own initiative (for the consequences of your own initiative, see also the judgment of the Stuttgart District Court in 2005: If a police officer investigates a person from their private sphere and finds out that there is an arrest warrant against this person, he has take action against this person).

PVB do not need a weapon possession card due to their official activity , this also applies when they are out of service.


Police officer on duty in front of the Hamburg City Hall

The activities may vary depending on the police (federal or state police) or country:

Promotion opportunities

  • mPVD in the gPVD after qualification and selection test (without studies)
  • gPVD in the hPVD after qualification and selection test ( assessment center )

As a rule, further training takes place before the ascent.

Remuneration, other services

The remuneration is based on the federal salary regulations A or B. The civil servants receive a police allowance and allowances or free medical care . In some countries there are additional benefits such as clothing allowance, changing shift allowance, hazard allowance (for foreign assignments or service with special units). In addition, some receive an annual special allowance ( Christmas bonus ) and vacation pay , although the amount varies or does not apply depending on the employer.

Medical care / aid

Some countries pay subsidies , some provide free medical care . In some countries and at the federal police, officers can choose between the two services. In the case of the allowance, the civil servant receives half of the medical treatment costs from the employer; his family members who are not subject to compulsory insurance receive a larger percentage. Since the introduction of compulsory insurance in 2009, civil servants (and their family members) have had to take out private health insurance for the rest. If you choose a statutory health insurance, the civil servant would have to bear the full insurance costs, as the GKV is not allowed to offer a subsidy-compatible tariff.

In the case of free medical care, the civil servant is either reimbursed all costs or he receives treatment from the police medical service. The relatives receive the medical treatment costs.


The age limit is 60 to 65 years, depending on the country. The age limit is regulated in the respective state civil servant law. In Rhineland-Palatinate z. B. the age limit for the higher service 65 years. In the state of Berlin, the age limit for the middle service is 61 years, for the higher service 62 years and for the higher service 63 years.

Police capacity

For the enforcement service - synonymous with field service - the PVB must be capable of police service. This attribute can be revoked if one can no longer meet the health requirements for it (PDU).



Employment requirements:

  • Citizenship of an EU country (exceptions possible in the case of urgent business needs)
  • impeccable repute
  • Ownership of a class B driving license (in some countries it is sufficient to obtain a license until the end of the training period)
  • Minimum / maximum age 16 ½ / 36 years (depending on the country) (exceptions are possible for several years of service in the Bundeswehr)
  • Minimum height, usually 1.65 m (depending on the country)
  • Police fitness
  • orderly economic conditions
  • Sportiness (passed sports test)

additionally for the

  • mPVD: Middle school leaving certificate or secondary school leaving certificate and completed vocational training
  • gPVD: University entrance qualification or Abitur
  • hPVD: University degree (preferably law). The requirements vary somewhat from country to country.

The application is made in writing and usually tied to a specific form. In some countries it is necessary at least 1½ years before the date of employment. A written test (logic, memory, German) and a sports test must be completed during the selection process. The tests are followed by a group discussion. These procedures are different in each country and take up to three days.

For the preparatory service , the applicants are hired and appointed civil servants on revocation (public service contract entered into). You have the title of Police Master Candidate or Police Commissioner Candidate. In the higher service the designations differ depending on the employer. There are police trainees, police council candidates, government trainees and government council candidates.

During their training, the candidates / trainees receive a candidate's allowance.


Police training can now be completed primarily in the ranks of the upper and middle service; direct entry into higher service is hardly possible. Direct entry into the criminal police is only possible at the Federal Criminal Police Office and in the states of Berlin, Hamburg, Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein (gPVD).

State Police

Training for the mPVD takes place either with the riot police or at state police schools. The training lasts between 2½ and 3½ years. It concludes with the career test (written, oral, practical).

The gPVD is trained at universities of applied sciences for public administration or at special police universities (Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt). There are also internships at police stations or associations. The course, including internships, lasts three years. It concludes with a career test. Graduates are awarded the academic degree Dipl.-Verwaltungswirt (FH) specializing in police .

The hPVD training takes place on the basis of a state treaty for all countries at the German Police University in Münster . It lasts two years. There are also internships to be completed; The training concludes with a career examination.

Federal Police

The training takes place at the training and further education centers of the Federal Police at the Federal Police Academy in Lübeck, for the senior service at the federal university of applied sciences and for the higher service at the Police College (DHPol) in Münster, among others .

Federal Criminal Police Office

The Federal Criminal Police Office provides basic training (6 months) at the Federal University of Applied Sciences in Brühl and then at the University of Applied Sciences in the BKA in Wiesbaden. The training of the higher service takes place as in the federal states in Münster, but at the moment hardly any recruits are made for the higher service. Training in middle service does not take place.

Police at the German Bundestag

There is no training in the police at the German Bundestag . The positions are filled with already trained federal and state officials.

Canon of subjects

Additional training (usually only after employment):

  • Service dog being: service dog handler
  • Reiterstaffel: Police rider
  • Technical operations units: police drivers, police divers
  • Alpine operations: Member of the Alpine task force, police mountain guide
  • Medical service: paramedic, police doctor
  • Aviation duty: on-board warden, helicopter driver (pilot)
  • Marine police and coast guard: various nautical certificates

At the University of Applied Sciences Villingen-Schwenningen - University for Police in Villingen-Schwenningen you can neither do a doctorate nor do a habilitation. As an exception, it is also possible to start studying without a university entrance qualification. The application for the study place and the enrollment is only possible through the police. It is not a subject for non-police students.

Advancement within the career

PVB are promoted according to suitability and qualification. In addition to promotions, there is the possibility of specializing (e.g. operations center) or taking on the role of patrol leader, instruction officer or representative of the duty group leader within the security and patrol service.

Professional representation

PVB in Germany have the right to organize in a union . PVB are represented in the following unions: BGS-Verband (bgv), German Police Union in the dbb (DPolG), Police Union (GdP) and Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (BDK). The GdP belongs to the German Federation of Trade Unions . The DPolG belongs to the German Association of Officials (dbb) . The BDK does not have an umbrella organization.


PVB are primarily administrative officers with field service. However, even small assignments entail administrative follow-up activities, e.g. B. reporting and notification obligations, processing of advertisements and the prompt entry of data in a wide variety of files. Critics complain that the effort for these follow-up activities is getting higher and higher and that more and more staff are tied up with administrative matters instead of real police work.

It is also criticized that austerity measures mean that PVB have to work more and more for less money (job cuts) and that the technology is partly out of date (e.g. analog radio, information technology). In addition, in view of new threats ( terrorism ) and developments ( lightning break-ins , opening of Eastern Europe) , the police should receive more instead of less benefits. So the importance of the police in politics is clearly recognizable. The German police are modern, but far from being optimally equipped.


Police officers are representatives of the state and enforce its laws. Because of their prominent social position, they are always under observation. While in many other professions a detailed discussion of a case is often possible, the officers on site are often forced to make serious decisions with an intrusive character within seconds. In tricky situations this requires enormous mental flexibility and comprehension. Legal knowledge, which must be available on an ad hoc basis (so-called “street knowledge”), must also be available for the decision. In addition, knowledge of human nature and communicative behavior are necessary, as far as this finds a response.

They cover a variety of activities in other professions, e.g. B. administrative officials, social workers, conflict solvers, "bouncers", radio operators, professional drivers, etc. from. Police officers are often the target of aggression, see violence against police officers .

Training courses in operational training and shooting training are held irregularly . To a limited extent, further training offers on special topics are carried out, v. a. when changing functions. Various orders and decorations are awarded, e.g. B. the European Police Achievement Badge, the Lifesaver Medal and various UN badges.

Within the Bavarian Police , the middle-class law enforcement officers are entitled to use the professional title of administrative specialist-police or administrative specialist-police after having passed their career test .

The expression "bull"

In the 18th century the predecessors of the modern police officers were called Landpuller or Bohler . These words borrow their stem from the Dutch bol , which means "head" or "clever person". This is where the word bull developed , meaning an intelligent person is actually meant. Another explanation is the dialectic consonant weakening and o / u coincidence. Cop / police is poles (z. B. "cops") or Puhler ( slang for police officer ) in accordance with the same bull and then sets generally due to the obvious associations through.

It is unclear when this expression was first understood as an insult. In 1965 the Bonn District Court first classified the term “bull” as an insult and imposed a fine of 50 DM. What is perceived as insulting is subject to change over time. According to a judgment of the Regional Court of Regensburg on October 6, 2005, Az .: 3 Ns 134 Js 97458/04, the dialect of police officers as "cops" does not constitute an insult.

Since 1975, the Association of German Detective Officers has been awarding the Bulls Medal ( Bul le Mérite ) every year for services to internal security. In normal usage in Germany, the word “Bulle” is now used as a synonym (e.g. TV series Der Bulle von Tölz ) for the police officer, so that one cannot always assume an insult. It is a different matter if one z. B. speaks of the "bull pig". Ultimately, it is crucial in which context the term is used.

See also

Web links

Commons : Police Officers  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Police spokesman: "Assaults are now everyday life". Image, September 12, 2018, accessed September 13, 2018 .
  2. Kurt Guth, Marcus Mery: The application for training with the police, fire brigade, customs and armed forces . Verlag Bildungspark, Offenbach am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-941356-29-0 , p. 18.
  3. Police Saxony - Police Saxony - Training in career group 1.2 of the police department (formerly middle service). Retrieved October 27, 2019 .
  4. § 24 Examination Regulations for the Intermediate Police Force ( Memento from April 20, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ Lexicon of popular errors of speech
  6. Heinz Küpper: Dictionary of German colloquial language. Klett-Verlag, Stuttgart 1987.
  7. Siegfried Paul: "Bulle", where does this term for police officers, intended as an insult, come from?
  8. Oliver Stegmann: Assertion of facts and value judgment in the German and French press . P. 71. ( online at google books )
  9. Heinz-Ulrich Schwarz: The vernacular designation of police officers as "cops" does not constitute an insult. Schwarz & Attorneys, accessed on February 2, 2015 (LG Regensburg, excerpt from the judgment of October 6, 2005).
  10. "Stinkefinger" can cost up to 4,000 euros. Retrieved on February 2, 2015 (ADAC infogram November 2009).