Ulrich Kersten

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Klaus Ulrich Kersten (born April 19, 1941 in Berlin ) is a German lawyer and former President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). He was the first BKA president to be appointed and prematurely dismissed as a political civil servant in direct dependence on the Federal Minister of the Interior following an amendment to the law .


Until his doctorate as Dr. jur. was he u. a. Active in the border protection department in Koblenz and in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution . From 1973 to 1996 he held various offices in the Federal Ministry of the Interior . The fields of work ranged from general police matters to the fight against crime and forensic technology to police information . Most recently, he headed the Federal Border Guard department there .

In April 1996 he was appointed President of the Federal Criminal Police Office by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Manfred Kanther ( CDU ). He replaced Hans-Ludwig Zachert , who was put into early retirement by Kanther. With the ministerial bureaucrat Kersten, who was considered “free of resistance”, Kanther hoped for a ministerial administration that was free from professional criticism.

During his tenure, Kersten endeavored to improve international cooperation between the police and border protection authorities , to expand dactyloscopy and to systematically expand the files with genetic fingerprints . In November 2000, by order of the Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily ( SPD ), he became a delegate for Europe to the Executive Committee of Interpol ( see also Schengen Information System ).

As a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the USA, dealing with terrorism increasingly became the focus. During this time there was a significant increase in the personnel and financial resources of the BKA. He also endeavored to work openly and constructively with the media. In August 2002 he took part as a guest speaker and discussion partner at the 1st Petersberg Congress of the German Association of Journalists , at which questions about serious reporting and possible instrumentalisation of the media by the terrorists were discussed. Kersten campaigned for an understanding of the cautious information policy, without which his authority could not issue any objective risk analyzes and assessments.

Despite his professional success, the relationship with the approximately 5,000 employees in the BKA remained rather distant, as he made no secret of his disinterest in the concerns of the detectives. Representatives of the police union were increasingly bothered by his stressed objectivity and monotony , which they attributed to Kersten's lack of “stable smell”, whom the employees of his predecessor Zachert still valued very much. A serious breach of trust finally occurred at the beginning of 2004. In the course of the disputes over the planned relocation of important parts of the BKA from Wiesbaden and Meckenheim to Berlin, Kersten's employees felt abandoned. There were increasing accusations that Kersten, contrary to his own statements, had already decided to close the Meckenheim location without first involving the employees concerned. The internal resistance culminated in the illegal transfer of a secret video recording to the television magazine Panorama . Unknown people filmed a non-public staff meeting in which Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily and Kersten presented their points of view.

Meanwhile, large parts of the Hessian population supported the demands of the police unions and professional representatives. This culminated in a demonstration by thousands of those affected in downtown Wiesbaden. Schily found that Kersten no longer had any support from the senior officials of the Federal Criminal Police Office and was consequently no longer politically acceptable. On February 5, 2004, he decided to recall Kersten with immediate effect. Schily emphasized that Kersten had only been put into temporary retirement and that, due to his professional qualities, he could still be considered for other offices.

Kersten's successor was Jörg Ziercke , who was then head of the police department in the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of the Interior .

Since September 1, 2004, Kersten has been a highly-paid special representative of Interpol at the United Nations in New York for three years . His job there is to make Interpol's expertise available to the UN.

Individual evidence

  1. Bambule at the BKA - The uprising against Schily's plans to move and press release: Forbidden video recordings from the BKA Panorama of January 22, 2004

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