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Poliklinik, Allgemeine - Polnischer Thronfolgekrieg (13/25)
Politzer, Adam Polizeiliches Führungszeugnis


Police, administrative institution for the prevention of and protection against danger or infringements of law and order under the threat of force or by coercive action. According to their fields of responsibility, the Austrian Police force is divided into "Sicherheitspolizei" (security police) and "Verwaltungspolizei" (administrative police). The security police are responsible for protection against and suppression of any danger to life, health, public peace, law and order within the state of Austria. The administrative police are responsible for the protection of specific matters of administrative law and for ensuring compliance with specific legal regulations pertaining to specific areas of administrative authority. Violations of these regulations result in the imposition of administrative fines by the police authority having jurisdiction over the activity or subject matter in question, such as building, industry and trade, traffic, foodstuffs, aliens, passports, associations and assemblies, fire-arms and explosives; other units comprise the lost and found office and the supervision of entertainments and of closing hours.

The general security police force falls under the responsibility of the Federal Government as far as legislation and execution is concerned. On the one hand it deals with administrative aspects of criminal justice, which are defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Suspects may be interrogated, witnesses questioned and (provided legal conditions are satisfied) arrests, searches and seizures may be conducted (judiciary police, criminal investigation department). On the other hand the general security police are responsible for the security of the state (State Police) and for the maintenance of public peace and law and order.

The general security police has a special organisational structure. At the top of the hierarchy is the Central Public Security Board (Generaldirektion für die öffentliche Sicherheit), a division of the Ministry of the Interior; it comprises the state police, the central command unit of the gendarmerie (rural police force) and the Criminal Investigation-INTERPOL group (co-ordination of criminal investigation activities in Austria, central bureau of INTERPOL for Austria). Each federal province has a Public Security Directorate, headed by a security director, in its capital city (in Vienna the police chief is at the same time the security director). The lowest instance is the district administration authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaften) or Federal Police Authorities (Federal Police Directorates in Vienna, Schwechat, St. Pölten, Wiener Neustadt, Linz, Steyr, Wels, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Eisenstadt, Graz, Leoben, Klagenfurt and Villach).

The local security police within the jurisdiction of the provinces are organised by the municipalities in their own sphere of action. Their responsibilities are, for instance, the maintenance of public propriety, protection against noise pollution or the issuance of regulations governing the hours during which the doors of apartment buildings etc. have to be kept locked.

The organisation of the administrative police is the responsibility of the administrative authority having jurisdiction over the specific matters in question.

The police authorities exercise their functions through Law Enforcement Officers. Their officers wear uniform and bear arms and act as organs and on behalf of the police authorities. In some municipalities the local police officers are also responsible for executive tasks on behalf of the municipal administration. The Federal Security Police (Bundessicherheitswache) is organised in corps assigned to a Federal Police Directorate. The corps of criminal investigation consist of plain-clothes officers assigned to Federal Police Directorates. The remaining security tasks are fulfilled by the Gendarmerie. At the head of the Bundesgendarmerie (federal gendarmerie) is the Central Command Unit of the gendarmerie, which forms part of the Public Security Board. In the federal provinces the provincial gendarmerie command units form part of the Public Security Directorates. They are responsible for the district gendarmerie headquarters and the local gendarmerie station headquarters (Gendarmeriepostenkommando).

History: In the early Middle Ages militias were the chief law enforcement bodies, side by side with the police forces maintained by local rulers and the cities. Under Maria Theresia a central police bureau with commissariats was established in Vienna in 1776. The police was reorganised by Count J. A. Pergen under Joseph II: The police bureau was changed into a police directorate in 1789 to which the local chiefs of police had to report (predecessor of a police ministry). In 1791 the independent status of the police was again abolished, and in the following years emphasis was laid on developing the state police (especially in the Vormärz period). After the revolution of 1848 the system of security was entrusted to the municipalities. In 1849 the gendarmerie was established, in 1850 the "basic principles of the organisation of the local rulers' police authorities" were announced, in 1851, after the separation of the judicial branch and the administration, the power to sentence offenders was withdrawn from the police and conferred upon the state courts. In 1852 the Ministry of the Interior was transformed into the "Supreme Police Authority", which became a police ministry in 1859 (and abolished in 1867). In 1870 police matters were definitively conferred on the Ministry of the Interior. The INTERPOLl was established in 1923, with the valuable co-operation of the Chief of Police of Vienna, J. Schober and had its first headquarters in Vienna. - Since 1993 the organisation and responsibilities of the security and of the executive authorities have been governed by the Security Police Act.

Literature: K. Springer, Die österreichische Polizei, 1960; W. Blum, Die Sicherheitspolizei und ihre Handlungsformen, 1987; A. Hauer and R. Keplinger, Handbuch zum Sicherheitspolizeigesetz, 1993; A. Dearing, Sicherheitspolizeigesetz (SPG), 1999.

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