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Division ZD

Central CID Services

The division Central CID Services includes a broad variety of tasks such as the permanent crime unit, the identification service and the mobile task force on federal level.

The permanent crime unit guarantees a 24/7 availability to gather and assess national and international incoming messages and reports. In case further pieces of information exist in databases of the BKA, these can be added to the process and directly transferred to the officer in charge.

The Tactical Reporting Centre and the permanent crime unit often form 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. Besides, initial measures are also taken outside regular working hours, operational forces are alerted or other security services are notified of important matters.

The Interpol-network directly links the police agencies of 188 states. The Bundeskriminalamt represents the National Central Bureau for the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO, Interpol), as Interpol Wiesbaden. In this function, the BKA for example exchanges information due to international searches and initiates all necessary measures to trace a person whilst closely cooperating with the national or international police and law agency in charge.

The national and international exchange of information regarding searches in the Schengen Information System (SIS), the European network for searches for persons and property, is routed by the Division ZD, SIRENE Germany (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry), on behalf of the entire German police to local police forces or abroad.


Additionally, the identification of persons forms an essential task of the Central CID services. This includes the identification of offenders as well as victims. Therefore, this process is supported by the personal data collections of the Bundeskriminalamt held in Division ZD. The central part is the extensive criminal records collection, supplemented by the central photograph collection. Furthermore, physical descriptions of persons are 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). AFIS often manages to identify an offender, even if only parts of a fingerprint or palm print are found at a crime scene.

Since the beginning of 2006, it is possible to identify persons even from a patrol car using a Fast-ID fingerprint identification system. In this process, only a single finger is scanned. The generated fingerprint can be automatically researched in the entire AFIS database. In case of a hit, the system responds in 3-5 minutes; in case no match is found, it takes about 1-3 minutes.

Besides AFIS, significant success can be registered due to the DNA-analysis-database which was installed at the BKA in 1998.

These databases do not only convict suspects. Innocent people are cleared of suspicion and citizens can be protected from reoffenders. Additionally there has been further improvement in the exchange of data on an international level due to the Treaty of Prüm. The treaty was signed in May 2005 between Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France Spain and Germany. It aims to ensure a supranational criminal prosecution. The treaty offers possibilities for exchanging and searching data such as fingerprints, DNA and motor vehicle data in the databases of the member states.

Identifizierungskommission (IDKO)

Another task drawing large public attention is the work of the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Team (Identifizierungskommission – IDKO), which has gained international recognition. Since the 70s, it has been dispatched to the scenes of air crashes or other disasters with German citizens involved, such as the tsunami in Southeast Asia, to assist identifying the victims. Consisting of more than 130 specialists of 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, the operational services of the Bundeskriminalamt are grouped in Division ZD. The mobile task force is a special unit mainly supporting investigation and search units on federal and state level by conducting surveillances and 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 appear at the crime scene directly after a serious crime has been committed, in order to collect physical evidence using modern equipment.

Since August 2003, the federal states have been provides 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 that is comprised of specially trained staff form Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the Federal Police and the Bundeskriminalamt. A special area – NBC Support – at the BKA provides advice and investigative support in connection with dangerous situations involving nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical substances.

In cases of kidnapping, hostage-taking and large-scale extortion to the detriment of German citizens or German facilities and institutions in other countries, the specialists of the Negotiating and Counselling Team are called in. They support and counsel the police commanders in charge as well ad agencies, external institutions or companies with regard to the tactical, organisational and technical possibilities of the individual case. Therefore, 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). Measures are taken here 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. 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