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Federal Police
Common nameFederal Police
Agency overview
Formed16 March 1951 (73 years ago) (1951-03-16) as Bundesgrenzschutz, since 1 July 2005 named Bundespolizei
Employees51,315 (1 September 2020)[1]
Annual budget€4.729 billion (2021)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyGermany
Operations jurisdictionGermany
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersBPOL-Präsidium, Potsdam
Police officers42,885[1]
Agency executive
  • Dieter Romann, Präsident des Bundespolizeipräsidiums
Parent agencyFederal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community
Motor vehicles7,032[1]
Boats3 (+1 on order) offshore vessels, 3 patrol boats[1]
Service dogs460[1]
Service horses21[1]
Website (German)

The Federal Police (Bundespolizei or BPOL) is the national and principal federal law enforcement agency of the German Federal Government, being subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat (BMI)). The Federal Police is primarily responsible for border protection and railroad and aviation/air security. In addition, the agency is responsible, among other tasks, for the protection of federal constitutional bodies. It provides the federal alert police and GSG 9 special police unit, which can also be used to support the federated states of Germany.[3] Ordinary police forces, meanwhile, are under the administration of the individual German states (Bundesländer) and are known as the Landespolizei. In addition to the Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the German Parliament Police exist as further police authorities at the federal level.

The Bundespolizei was named Bundesgrenzschutz (BGS) ("Federal Border Guard") until 2005, which at its foundation in 1951 had a more restricted role. The then BGS incorporated the former West German Railway Police (Bahnpolizei) (in 1992), formerly an independent force, and the East German Transportpolizei (in 1990). Prior to 1994, BGS members also had military combatant status due to their historical foundation and border patrol role in West Germany. In July 2005 the law renaming the BGS as the BPOL was enacted.


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The BPOL has the following missions:

Stop and search on a motorway: BPOL inspecting a bus at a rest stop off Bundesautobahn 9.

The Bundespolizei can also be used to reinforce state police if requested by a state (Land) government. The BPOL maintains these reserve forces to deal with major demonstrations, disturbances or emergencies, supplementing the capabilities of the State Operational Support Units. Several highly trained detachments are available for crisis situations requiring armored cars, water cannon or other special equipment.

BPOL investigators conduct criminal investigations only within its jurisdiction; otherwise the cases are referred to the appropriate state police force or to the federal criminal investigative agency, the Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).

In addition, the Bundespolizei cooperates closely with German state executive authorities, such as prosecutor's offices (Staatsanwaltschaft) in pursuing criminal investigations.

Restoration of border control tasking on all borders (2015)

On the night of 13 September 2015 Germany unilaterally reintroduced border controls, under emergency provisions of the Schengen Agreement, due to the 2015 European migrant crisis overwhelming Germany's available resources, law enforcement and otherwise. The nominally temporary border controls were initially put in place just on the border with Austria, but by the following day (Monday 14 September 2015) they were being put in place at all borders with fellow EU members. The same day, Austria and other EU members who were part of the Schengen Area began to put in place their own border controls (again meant to be temporary) in response to Germany's actions.

The new German border controls are to be primarily enforced both by the various Landespolizei of those German states that adjoin external borders, and in particular by the Bundespolizei.


Bundespolizei districts of Germany
Bundespolizei patch

The BPOL national headquarters (BPOL-Präsidium) in Potsdam performs all central control functions. Eight regional headquarters (BPOL-Direktion) control the BPOL stations that conduct rail police and border protection missions. These areas of responsibility conform to the federal state boundaries which they did not do prior to 1 March 2008.

The regional headquarters are as follows:

These regional headquarters each have an investigation department and a mobile inspection and observation unit. Moreover, they control the 67 BPOL stations (BPOL-Inspektion) which in turn control the Bundespolizeireviere or precincts located in places that require a 24-hour presence by BPOL officers.

A special Direktion is responsible for Frankfurt International Airport.

The central school for advanced and vocational training is in Lübeck and controls the six basic training schools in Swisttal, Neustrelitz, Oerlenbach, Walsrode, Eschwege and Bamberg. It is also in charge of the Federal Police Sport School in Bad Endorf and a competitive sport project in Kienbaum near Berlin. The sport school specialises in winter sport events and has trained many of Germany's top skiers and skaters such as Claudia Pechstein.

The Zentrale Direktion Bundesbereitschaftspolizei controls the mobile support and rapid reaction battalions located in Bayreuth, Deggendorf, Blumberg (near Berlin), Hünfeld, Uelzen, Duderstadt, Sankt Augustin, Bad Bergzabern, Bad Düben and Ratzeburg. The number of Bereitschaftspolizei companies increased in March 2008 from 28 to 29 comprising approx. 25 percent of Germany's police support units.[4]

BPOL Special Units

The following special units also exist:


The Bundespolizei as at 1 September 2020 consists of 51,315 personnel:

New large offshore patrol vessel BP 81 Potsdam


Bundesgrenzschutz patch (1952 to 1976)

In 1951 the West German government established a Federal Border Protection Force (Bundesgrenzschutz or BGS) composed of 10,000 men under the Federal Interior Ministry's jurisdiction. The force replaced allied military organisations such as the U.S. Constabulary then patrolling West Germany's borders. The BGS was described as a mobile, lightly armed police force for border and internal security despite fears that it would be the nucleus of a new German army. When West Germany did establish an army, the Bundeswehr, BGS personnel were given the choice of staying in the BGS or joining the army. Most decided to join the army.

In 1953, the BGS took control of the German Passport Control Service. In 1972 the Compulsory Border Guard Service was enacted by the parliament, which – in theory – is still in force, but suspended, similar to the conscription for the Bundeswehr.[6][7] In 1976, the state police grades replaced the military rank structure and BGS training was modified to closely match that of the state police forces (Landespolizei). The West German Railway Police (Bahnpolizei), formerly an independent force, and the East German Transportpolizei were restructured under the BGS in 1990.

In July 2005, the BGS was renamed the Bundespolizei or BPOL (Federal Police) to reflect its transition to a multi-faceted federal police agency. The change also involved a shift to blue uniforms and livery for vehicles and helicopters. The German Interior Ministry reviewed the structure of the BPOL in 2007 and in March 2008 made the structure leaner to get more officers out of offices and onto patrol.


BMW standard patrol car
A Bundespolizei van

The Bundespolizei typically favour vehicles made by German manufacturers such as the BMW 5 Series sedans and station wagons, Volkswagen Passat, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Transporter vans. However, due to the European Union's rules on contract bidding they have less freedom to choose specific manufacturers. Today, German police forces generally lease patrol cars from a manufacturer, usually for a period of three years. Bundespolizei vehicles have number plates that are based on the BP XX-YYY system. BP stands for Bundespolizei. Older vehicles may still have the BGS "BG" plates.

XX is a number from 10 to 55 indicating the type of vehicle:

YYY is a combination of up to three numbers.

BMW R 1150 RT motorcycle


This is some of the weaponry utilized by the Federal Police:

Aircraft inventory

The Federal Police now has been reduced to three flight amenities pattern of 94 helicopters. This is the largest civilian helicopter fleet in Germany.[8]

A Eurocopter EC-135 of the Bundespolizei in the new livery
Bundespolizei Eurocopter Super Puma
Bundespolizei Eurocopter EC-155
Aircraft Type Versions In service Notes
Eurocopter EC-120 training helicopter EC 120 10 replaced Alouette II in training role
Eurocopter Super Puma transport helicopter AS 332 L1 19
Eurocopter EC 135 utility helicopter EC 135 24
Eurocopter EC 155 transport helicopter EC 155 B 19

In May 2024 it was announced that Airbus Helicopters will supply 38 new H225 Super Puma's to replace the 19 AS332 and 19 EC 155 from 2025 onawards [9]

Former aircraft

Aircraft Type Versions In service Notes
Aérospatiale Alouette II training and utility helicopter SA 318C last Alouette left the fleet in 2007
Aérospatiale Puma transport helicopter SA 330 last Puma left the fleet in 2008, replaced by Super Pumas
MBB Bo 105 rescue helicopter Bo 105CBS replaced by Eurocopter EC-135T2i

K-9 support

Approximately 500 working dogs are used in the Federal Police at present. Most of the dogs are German shepherds. Other dog breeds are also used such as malinois, Dutch shepherd, German wirehaired pointer, giant schnauzer, and rottweiler. They accompany their handlers on daily missions in railway facilities, at airports, at the border or in physical security. Most working dogs live with the families of their handlers. Basic and advanced training is performed under the supervision of the Federal Police Academy at the Federal Police canine schools in Bleckede (Lower Saxony) and Neuendettelsau (Bavaria) where dogs and handlers go through patrol dog and explosive detection courses.


New large offshore patrol vessel BP 81 Potsdam

Until 2003, the federal police units had rank insignia almost identical to those used by the Schutzpolizei in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany (the East German Volkspolizei had until 1990 similar rank insignia, only with a bit different number of stars for respective ranks). In 2003, the federal German police ranks and insignia were unified with those used by police units of federal lands.

Junior ranks (Mittlerer Dienst)

Rank Translation Rank insignia Equivalent rank
in the
Polizeimeisteranwärter (PMA) Probationary Constable
Grenzpolizeiliche Unterstützungskraft (GUK)
Bundespolizeiliche Unterstützungskraft (BUK)
Polizeivollzugsangestellter (PVA)
Border Support Employee
Federal Police Support Employee
Enforcement Support Employee
Polizeimeister (PM) Police Constable
(paygrade A7)
Polizeiobermeister (POM) Senior Police Constable
(paygrade A8)
Polizeihauptmeister (PHM) Police Sergeant
(pay grade A9)
Polizeihauptmeister mit Amtszulage (PHMmZ) Police Staff Sergeant
(pay grade A9 with increment)

Senior ranks (Gehobener Dienst)

Rank Translation Rank insignia Equivalent rank
in the
Polizeikommissaranwärter (PKA) Probationary Inspector
Polizeikommissar (PK) Junior Inspector
(pay grade A9)
Polizeioberkommissar (POK) Inspector
(pay grade A10)
Polizeihauptkommissar A 11 (PHK) Chief Inspector II
(pay grade A11)
Polizeihauptkommissar A 12 (PHK) Chief Inspector I
(pay grade A12)
Erster Polizeihauptkommissar (EPHK) Senior Chief Inspector
(pay grade A13)
Erster Polizeihauptkommissar mit Amtszulage (EPHKmZ) Senior Chief Inspector with Official Allowance
(pay grade A13 with increment)

Command ranks (Höherer Dienst)

Rank Translation Rank insignia Equivalent rank
in the
Polizeiratanwärter (PRA) Probationary Superintendent
Polizeirat (PR) Superintendent ("Counselor")
(pay grade A13)
Polizeioberrat (POR) Senior Superintendent
(pay grade A14)
Polizeidirektor (PD) Director
(pay grade A15)
Leitender Polizeidirektor (LtdPD) Senior Director
(pay grade A16)
Direktor in der Bundespolizei (als Abteilungsleiter im Bundespolizeipräsidium) Director (Division Chief at Federal Police Headquarters)
(pay grade B3)
Präsident der Bundespolizeiakademie President of the Federal Police Academy
(pay grade B4)
Präsident einer Bundespolizeidirektion President of a Federal Police Directorate
(pay grades B3–B6)
Präsident der Bundespolizeidirektion Sankt Augustin
Vizepräsident beim Bundespolizeipräsidium
President of the Federal Police Directorate in Sankt Augustin
(pay grade B5)
Vice President of the Federal Police Headquarters
(pay grade B6)
Präsident des Bundespolizeipräsidiums President of the Federal Police Headquarters
(pay grade B9)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Bundespolizei - Daten und Fakten". Archived from the original on 2020-11-24. Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  2. ^ "Bundeshaushalt" (in German). Archived from the original on 2023-05-14. Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  3. ^ "Bundespolizei - Unser Auftrag". Archived from the original on 2020-08-18. Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  4. ^ Official BPOL news release on reorganisation (in German) Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Einsatzschiffe sowie Kontroll- und Streifenboote" [Cruise and patrol vessels] (in German). Bundespolizei. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Bundesgrenzschutzneuregelungsgesetz - Deutscher Bundestag" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2023-05-15. Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  7. ^ Verheyen, Josef (2013-11-11). Rechtskunde — leicht verständlich. ISBN 9783663130871.
  8. ^ "Historie der Bundespolizei". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2015-04-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^