According to Article 78d of the Austrian Federal Constitutional Act (B-VG), guards are armed or uniformed or otherwise military -style formations to which police- related tasks are assigned. Under tasks of a police character not mere surveillance powers, nor fighting, are in property risks, but in the granting of authority to use own initiative physical force against people.
In order to avoid misunderstandings, the B-VG adds that the guard bodies in particular do not include: the protection of individual branches of the national culture, such as agriculture and forestry (field, field and forest protection ), mining , hunting , of fishing or other water rights established guards, the bodies of market surveillance and the fire department .
Furthermore, it is determined that the local operating area of a municipality in which the State Police at the same time safety authority of First Instance, from another local authority must not be erected a guard body. Guards themselves are not authorities, but always subordinate to or assigned to an authority.
The following guards existed in Austria up to the end of April 2004:
- Federal Gendarmerie
- Federal Security Guard Corps
- Detective Corps
- Customs guard
- Justice Guard
- various community guards .
As of May 1, 2004, the customs guard was dissolved and its employees were largely divided into the Federal Gendarmerie and the Federal Security Guard Corps. On July 1, 2005, the so-called " amalgamation of police and gendarmerie " took place, that is, the merger of the federal security guard corps, the criminal police corps and the federal gendarmerie to form the federal police . Since then, only the following guard bodies have existed in Austria:
- Federal Police
- Justice Guard
- various community guards