The Bundeskriminalamt is prepared to take action 24/7. Through its operations and coordination center, a 24- hour service center known as the “Kriminaldauerdienst”, the Bundeskriminalamt is able to act quickly in connection with investigations, searches and international communications.
All important reports about criminal offenses and perpetrators that are not of a strictly local or regional nature are sent to the BKA and analyzed there.The state offices are informed directly by the BKA if information of relevance for them is received or if links are established. The data received at the BKA are stored in electronic databases. This is subject to strict data protection provisions; compliance with these provisions is monitored by the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection on a regular basis.
The central computer used for searches by the German police is installed at the Bundeskriminalamt. No matter whether information is needed by a radio patrol squad on local streets or by border control officers at a German airport – an inquiry to INPOL, the computerized search system of the German police, will provide a dependable response. Is this person on the wanted list? Is this item the subject of searches? Is there an arrest warrant for the subject? Is he wanted in another country? Is identification material on file about the subject? Is the car that came to notice during police checks a stolen vehicle?
If a subject’s identity papers are false or he has allegedly lost his passport – after electronic transmission of a suspect’s fingerprints to the Bundeskriminalamt, checks there can quickly provide information about the subject’s true identity.
The central office functions of the BKA also include the operation and maintenance of facilities and collections for identification material and forensic science.
The laboratories at the BKA are state-of-the-art. If it is necessary to apply methods from the fields of physics, chemistry or biology, to recover physical evidence from instruments used to commit crimes, to compare firearms, or to analyze speech or language – the staff of the BKA are familiar with all the modern methods of investigation. The only stereo scanning microscope in the world can be found in a BKA laboratory in Wiesbaden. It can be used to identify even the most minute traces from crime scenes, which can then serve as convincing evidence.
Analysis methods and techniques such as DNA analysis are continuously being refined and improved. Upon request, the BKA also prepares expert opinions in the fields of identification and forensic science for the police and judicial authorities.
The BKA plays a leading role with regard to research in the fields of criminology and criminal investigation as well as forensic science. Police methods and working methods aimed at crime suppression are also researched and developed here. The BKA prepares criminal police analyses and statistics, in particular the Police Crime Statistics for Germany, and it carries out specialized CID training courses for its own staff as well as for staff at other authorities.
Highly qualified specialists from the BKA can be sent to crime scenes in Germany and other countries without delay: BKA staff who have gained experience all over the world participate in explosives and incendiary investigations, crime scene investigations and identification of persons.
The Bundeskriminalamt is even prepared to deal with the consequences of major disasters that may occur anywhere in the world. The Disaster Victim Identification Team (IDKO – Identifizierungskommission) is sent to all parts of the world, for example when it is necessary to identify the victims of plane crashes, major transport accidents, or natural disasters like the tsunami in Southeast Asia.