Police services

Offices

"Police tasks" in terms of the Austrian administration refers to all official measures which, by warning or by force, are to prevent or avert threats to and disruptions of public order.

This includes all official functions where the federal state, a province or a municipality acts as an agency of public power vis-à-vis its citizens to prevent or remove threats to or disruptions of law and order among the population, and may therefore take enforcement action if necessary. Apart from the security police, police services in Austria include the market police, the sanitary police, the building inspection department, as well as the police section in charge of events and related tasks.

Organisation of the Austrian federal police

The Federal Minister of the Interior is the highest law enforcement authority. The Regional Police Directorates - established as federal authorities in the provinces - are subordinate to the Federal Minister. District administrative authorities (i.e. authorities established in the provinces for indirect federal administration) are subordinate to the Regional Police Directorates.

Law enforcement officers

According to the Federal Constitutional Act, law enforcement officers are "armed or uniformed formations or other formations of military character organised to carry out police tasks".

On 1 July 2005, three formerly separate institutions - the Federal Security Police, General Federal Police ("Gendarmerie") and Criminal Investigation Department - were merged into a single Federal Police Department.

Special structure in Vienna

Vienna’s special position is equally reflected in its security matters.

The Vienna Police Directorate also fulfils the tasks of a first instance law enforcement authority for the region of Vienna. As a result, the district administrative authority for Vienna, i.e. the Vienna City Administration, does not carry out any general security police tasks.

Being the seat of a regional police directorate also implies that, in accordance with article 78d, paragraph 2 of the Austrian Federal Constitution, Vienna is not entitled to its own (municipal) corps of police officers.

The Vienna City Hall Guards are not law enforcement officers of the municipal police, but rather are a subdivision of Vienna’s full-time fire brigade (Municipal Department 68) and as such do not carry out any law enforcement functions. Their tasks are to provide preventive fire protection in office buildings of the City of Vienna, to assist in fire extinguishing before the fire brigade arrives, as well as to guard the City Hall and to provide technical assistance.

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