Rules for greater citizen orientation and transparency

  • Home Page
  • Chancellor 

  • Federal Government

  • News

  • Service

  • Media Center

Federal police officers check a traveller’s paperwork as part of an entry check on a train. (More information available below the photo under ‚detailed description‘.)

Federal police officers check a traveller’s paperwork on a train.

Federal police officers check a traveller’s paperwork as part of an entry check on a train.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Daniel Karmann

More than 50,000 federal police officers are committed to keeping people safe in our country. The tasks and legal status of the federal police force are regulated by the Federal Police Act. However, large parts of the Federal Police Act that is currently in effect were drawn up in 1994, before chat groups or social media existed. A lot has changed since then. The tasks of the police have also increased and become more diverse, as have the technical possibilities.

Comprehensive modernisation

In order to do justice to the federal police force’s huge range of tasks, the Federal Government has adjusted the Federal Police Act to contemporary needs. A draft law to this effect was adopted in the Federal Cabinet today. Police law will therefore be comprehensively modernised and restructured.

In addition, the draft law provides for the implementation of the specifications made by the Federal Constitutional Court in its ruling of 20 April 2016 concerning federal criminal law (1 BvR 966/09, 1 BvR 1140/09), as well as an EU Directive (EU 2016/680).

Police check confirmation to counteract racial profiling

The new law is designed to improve trust in the work of security agencies while at the same time increasing citizen orientation and transparency.

To this end, federal police staff will be required to issue confirmation that a police check was carried out, if requested by the person in question. The confirmation must include the place, time and reason for the person’s details being checked. The goal is to prevent discriminatory police checks and improve the legal position of affected individuals by making the reason and procedure of a check more transparent.

Identification obligation for law enforcement officers

The reform of the Federal Police Act also provides for a legitimisation and identification obligation on the part of the federal police’s law enforcement officers. A sequence of digits allows for officers to be identified, albeit only by competent authorities.

Simplifying exposure of breaches of duty  

Facilitating identification in this way is to make it easier to expose crimes or breaches of duty committed by uniformed law enforcement officers in future. At the same time, it will be possible to avoid officers who are acting legitimately becoming the subject of investigations.

Prospective officers are also to undergo an additional simple security clearance procedure in future. This has been voluntary up to now.