The Federal Republic of Germany consists of 16 states. Each state has its own police force. Together all state police forces employ more than 300,000 officers and staff.
On a federal level, there is the Federal Police (Bundespolizei - BPol) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt - BKA) under the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Overall, they employ 39,000 members of staff. The BKA, as a central agency, operates nationwide and provides assistance to the states in forensic matters, research, and criminal investigations. Accordingly, it maintains international contacts.
The city of Münster hosts the German Police University (Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei NRW, DHPol NRW) where police officers from all over Germany complete their studies before advancing to the senior police Service.
The North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Police Force is by far the biggest of the 16 German state police forces because almost a quarter of the German population lives in NRW. It performs its duties with 47 constabularies and three supervising police authorities. All in all, 42,000 police officers and 8,000 members of staff work here. The police NRW report to the Ministry of the Interior of the state of NRW and Local Government NRW. The Minister is politically answerable and accountable to Parliament.
Of the 47 constabularies or police headquarters, the 18 urban constabularies are headed by a President of Police appointed by the NRW government and the 29 rural constabularies headed by the County Chief Administration Officer elected for five years by municipal elections.
So the chief of police is always a civilian (except for the chiefs of the three supervising authorities) assisted by a senior chief police officer.
The police headquarters are supervised by the
• LKA NRW (NRW State Crime Authority)
• LAFP NRW (NRW Institute for Police Training and Policing Excellence)
• LZPD NRW (NRW Central Institute for Police Equipment and Technical Service) which provides IT, police technology and assists the police forces in operational matters and with know-how.
They in turn report to the Ministry of the Interior of the state of NRW and Local Government NRW.
The tasks of the LKA NRW result from the Police Organisation Act. With about 1.700 members of staff, the LKA NRW is a central agency for investigating and prosecuting serious crime. It supports the Ministry of the Interior of the state of NRW and the police headquarters in the fight against crime, crime prevention and prosecution. The LKA prosecutes crimes by order of the Ministry of the Interior of the state of NRW and on request of a court within its own power of decision. Accordingly, it gathers and analyses information important for the fight against crime. It also carries out forensic research, supports and coordinates operations of the police headquarters and gives advice.
The LKA NRW is organised in the following departments:
- Central Department delivers facilities and logistics service.
- Department 1 conducts investigation and analysis of organised crime.
- Department 2 is responsible for state security and investigation of political extremism.
- Department 3 deals with the analysis and evaluation of crime, prevention, research; it has a surveillance team and the targeted search unit.
- Department 4 responsible for cyber crime, interceptions, covert investigations and witness protection
- Department 5 is the NRW Forensic Institute which perform all forensic tests needed for prosecution
- Department 6 is responsible for State Protection and Investigation Support