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Division ZD

Central CID Services

The stand-by services of the Bundeskriminalamt, the identification service and the operational units are organisedin Division ZD.

Round the clock, the messages and reports from at home and abroad are received here, assessed, checked against central collections and/or databases, enriched with information and routed in a targeted manner to the officers responsible.

The Tactical Reporting Centre, the stand-by section, is in many cases the first point of contact for the police forces of the Federation, the federal states, foreign police services or Customs and other law-enforcement authorities. Initial measures are also taken here outside regular working hours, operational forces are alerted or other services are notified of important matters.

Wanted notices for the Schengen Information System (SIS), the European network for searches for persons and property, and international wanted notices sent via Interpol are routed by Division ZD on behalf of the entire German police to the local police forces in this country or to other countries. The international mutual assistance in criminal matters is also in the hands of this organisational section.


For on the one hand, the Bundeskriminalamt, as "Interpol Wiesbaden", is the National Central Bureau for the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO), known the world over as Interpol. On the other hand, "SIRENE" Germany (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry) to support the "Schengen Information System" (SIS) for searches for persons and property in the European region is installed here.
The Interpol bureaux communicate with each other in four languages. Smooth communication in a global information network is guaranteed by the agency’s own efficient translating and interpreting service.

Another task of Division ZD is the identification of persons, that is to say the identification of offenders and victims. This work is supported by the personal data collections of the Bundeskriminalamt held in Division ZD. The centrepiece is the extensive criminal records collection, supplemented by the central photograph collection. Additionally, physical descriptions of persons are held available.

The fingerprints of 3.27 million people and approximately 1.1 million palm prints are stored in the electronic database (AFIS) (Automated Fingerprint Identification System). Even if only parts of a fingerprint or palm print can be found at a crime scene, AFIS often leads the investigators to the offender.
Great success in the identification of criminals, often after many years, is achieved by the DNA Analysis Database also held in Division ZD, which is an ideal complement to the AFIS system. With the aid of these databases, not only are suspects convicted, but innocent people are cleared of suspicion and the citizens are protected from repeat offenders.

Since the beginning of 2006, it has been possible to identify persons even from a patrol car using the Fast-ID fingerprint identification system. Fast-ID is a single-finger scanner with which two or more fingerprints can be taken and researched in the entire AFIS collection. The response time in the case of a hit is between 3 - 5 minutes; if there is no hit 1 - 3 minutes. So far, the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and the Federal Police have Fast-ID at their disposal.

The Prüm Treaty was signed in May 2005 between Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain and Germany. The objective is to improve criminal prosecution. The treaty offers possibilities for searching data such as fingerprints, DNA and motor vehicle data in the databases of the member states. Germany and Austria went into operation for fingerprint data searches at the beginning of June 2007.

Identifizierungskommission (IDKO)

Another subject drawing large public attention is the work of the ”Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Team” (Identifizierungskommission - IDKO), which is recognised the world over. Since the 70's, it has been despatched to the scenes of air crashes or other disasters, such as the tsunami in Southeast Asia, to assist in the identification of the victims. Consisting of more than 130 specialists from the BKA and more than 45 external members (pathologists, dentists, psychological/social experts), a team can be formed and sent to the scene of a disaster as quickly as possible, subject to the consent of the country affected or on request of the domestic authority responsible.

Furthermore, Division ZD possesses an interactive system for the production of composite pictures, which can help to provide important information on suspicious persons based on the observations of witnesses.

The operational services of the Bundeskriminalamt are also grouped in Division ZD. The experts deployed there support the investigation and search units of the Bundeskriminalamt, but also other services of the Federation, the local states and, in individual cases, foreign authorities.
They include the Mobile Operations Unit, which is used for undercover measures, such as surveillance, partly also for arrests.

Spurensicherung in einem Auto

Another important unit is the highly qualified crime scene group for explosives and incendiary offences, the disposal of improvised explosive devices and general crime scene work. They come to the scene directly after serious crimes, such as terrorist attacks, in order to collect physical evidence by the most up-to-date methods.

Since 1 August 2003, the Federation has been providing the German states with assistance in certain types of danger situations through the Central Federal Support Group in Response to Serious Nuclear Threats (Zentrale Unterstützungsgruppe des Bundes für gravierende Fälle der nuklearspezifischen Gefahrenabwehr - ZUB). The Bundeskriminalamt is responsible for the management and administrative affairs of the ZUB, which is comprised of specially trained staff from Germany's Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Federal Police and the Bundeskriminalamt. A special area - "NBC Support" - at the Bundeskriminalamt provides advice and investigative support in connection with danger situations involving nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical substances.

In cases of kidnapping, hostage-taking and large-scale extortion to the detriment of German nationals or German facilities and institutions in other countries, the specialists from the Negotiating and Counselling Team are called in. They support and counsel the police commanders, but also other agencies, external institutions or companies with regard to the tactical, organisational and technical possibilities of the individual case. Furthermore, they develop action strategies and counselling concepts in advance and compile threat analyses for individuals, companies and institutions.

Also installed in Division ZD is the Search Service Centre (public-assisted searches, general search matters, steering of search measures). It is here that measures are taken for the international search for persons with a view to extradition and in cases of parental child abduction, basic principles of general searches are developed and public-assisted searches are coordinated. For the targeted, particularly intensive search for individual criminals wanted for arrest, the BKA deploys the search experts of the Fugitive Search Unit.

In connection with its own investigations, the BKA develops and implements measures for a comprehensive and effective protection of witnesses, their relatives and persons close to them. In this way, physical and psychological influences on endangered persons are prevented, in order to ensure their ability and willingness to testify.

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© Bundeskriminalamt - 2016