Schutzpolizei (Nazi Germany)
The Schutzpolizei des Reiches was the uniformed police of most cities and large towns. State police departments were in charge of protection police, criminal investigation divisions (Kripo, short for Kriminalpolizei), and administrative police. The State protection police comprised patrol branch, barracked police, traffic police, water police, mounted police, police communications units, and police aviation. Policemen had to have previous military service, good physical and mental health, be of Aryan descent, and be members of the Nazi Party. Police Officers had in addition to be members of the SS. Policemen were promoted according to a regulated career system. Promotion for officers was determined by merit and seniority. Pay for policemen was higher than the average industrial worker and was more in line with the average privately employed white-collar worker.
- 1 State police departments
- 2 Branches
- 3 Personnel
- 4 References
State police departments
State police departments (Staatliche Polizeiverwaltungen) were local and Kreis police administrations in charge of protection police, criminal investigation divisions (Kriminalabteilungen), and administrative police.
|Municipality||State police department||Police commissioner|
|Small town||Polizeiamt||The Landrat, as head of the Landkreis police administration, was police commissioner. Under him a police administrative official with the rank of Polizeirat or Polizeioberinspektor was in daily charge of the department.|
|Town||Polizeiamt||The nearest state police commissioner was also commissioner for the department. Under him a police administrative official with the rank of Polizeirat was in daily charge of the department.|
|City||Polizeidirektion||A police lawyer with the rank of Polizeidirektor.|
|Big city||Polizeipräsidium||A police lawyer with the rank of Polizeipräsident.|
In each state police department, a state protection police command called Kommando der Schutzpolizei was under a Kommandeuer der Schutzpolizei as chief of the local protection police.
Under the protection police command was a territorial police organization for the patrol branch (Einzeldienst).
- Polizeirevier = precinct (20 - 40 policemen, with a population of 20-30 000 peoples).
- Polizeiabschnitt = police areas (five or more precincts).
- Polizeigruppe = police groups (three to five police areas; only in Berlin, Vienna and Hamburg).
The barracked police, Kasernierte Polizei, was a predecessor of today’s German Bereitschaftspolizei. It was normally organized in company-sized units (Hundertschaften) in larger cities. During the war, the barracked police formed the core for the police battalions serving in the occupied countries and in the German army rear. 
Large protection police command had motorized SWAT-teams (Motorisierte Uberfallkommandos) equipped with armored cars. During the war they served in Western Europe, suppressing anti-German demonstrations, and in Slovenia keeping the alpine roads open and combating local resistance.
During the war, police guards battalions (Polizei-Wachbataillone) were established, consisting of conscripted personnel in their fifties who were too old to be called up to the Wehrmacht. Each battalion consisted of 350-500 men, and each military district (Wehrkreis) had 3-4 guards battalions. They were armed with rifles and a few light machine guns. The main task of the guards battalions were maintaining order and control traffic in connection with civil defense efforts in places that were subjected to Allied bombings.
Fifty-one specific traffic police units (Motorisierte Verkehrsbereitschaften) were formed in 1937 for traffic control in the larger cities. Nazi Germany's enlargement led to more such units being added in the incorporated areas. Traffic police were equipped with patrol cars, patrol motorcycles, and command vehicles. In cities with over 200,000 inhabitants there were also specific traffic accident units (Verkehrsunfallbereitschaften) equipped with special vehicles for traffic accidents. In 1941 a Motorisierte Verkehrskompanie zbV was established, to ensure that wartime traffic regulations were complied with, i.e. rules concerning driving permits, gasoline rationing, and so forth. Its five platoons operated in the whole country.
Wasserschutzpolizei, the Water police, was an organization similar to today's Wasserschutzpolizei. It was in charge of coastal and internal waterways as well as harbor policing. It was established from the Reichswasserschutz, and absorbed the maritime police (Schiffartzpolizei) and harbor police in 1937.
The mounted police was either a specific unit, or part of a larger unit that also contained foot patrols. The basic units were the Polizei-Reiterstaffeln (mounted troops). Berlin, Königsberg, Stettin, Breslau, and Gleiwitz had in 1938 larger specific mounted police units, each of three mounted troops. In other cities the mounted troops formed part of combined units. During the war police cavalry regiments and battalions existed as part of the Police Battalions serving in the occupied countries.
Polizei-Nachrichtenstaffeln (police signal squads) was the local component of the police communications service. Radio as well as telephone and telex on its own secure lines separate from the general public were used. Mobile radio stations along the highways and in larger cities belonged to special Nachrichtenbereitschaften (police signals companies). During the war police signals companies formed part of the Police Battalions serving in the occupied countries.
Police aviation existed in Germany since World War One. The police aviation performed border patrols, conducted surveillance of highways and sea routes, conducted forest fire flights, courier flights and was used for communications. In 1940 there was a police aviation unit, the Polizeifliegerabteilung, with nine aircraft; most of which were stationed in Berlin or Poland. In 1942 it was transferred to the Luftwaffe, forming the Fliegergruppe z.b.V. 7, although still operated by police aviators.
Employment and training
To be accepted as a police trainee before the war, the following requirements had to be filled:
- German citizenship
- No criminal record
- Height at least 170 cm
- Completed military service as a squad leader or four years of employment in the SS-Verfügungstruppe.
- 20-25 years old
- Approved physical and mental tests; a sports badge was a merit.
- Membership in the Nazi Party.
- SS-qualification, i.e. approved medical examination by a SS-doctor and an approved Aryan lineage through genealogy conducted by the SS; intelligence and general knowledge tests.
The training was given at special police training companies.
Police officers were mainly recruited from the SS-Junkerschules at Bad Tölz, Braunschweig and Klagenfurt. Others had to fulfill the same basic requirements as the police trainees (see above), and in addition having taken the general university entrance exam (Abitur) and having been accepted as SS-Anwärter. Police officer training was conducted at the police officer schools in Berlin-Köpenick and Fürstenfeldbruck.
Terms of employment
Policemen were promoted according to a regulated career system. A Wachtmeister was promoted to Oberwachtmeister earliest after six years employment and to Revieroberwachtmeister after seven years. After twelve years tenure as Hauptwachtmeister was guaranteed. Selection for promotion to Meister could take place after 16 years. Some Meisters could be selected for promotion to Revierleutnante, and Revieroberleutnante. After five year as a police lieutenant, and at an age of at least 50 years, promotion to Revierhauptmann could take place.
Promotion for officers were determined by merit and seniority. Promotion to Hauptmann required a written civil service exam, while promotion to Major required a three months promotional course at a police officer school. A special police general staff school existed in Dresden.
Rank and pay
- The German Police (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force: Evaluation and Dissemination Section (G-2), 1945), p. 12.
- The German Police (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force: Evaluation and Dissemination Section (G-2), 1945), p. 20.
- U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces, p. 202.
- The German Police (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force: Evaluation and Dissemination Section (G-2), 1945), p. 23.
- The German Police (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force: Evaluation and Dissemination Section (G-2), 1945), p. 21.
- Williamsson, Gordon. World War II German Police Units (2006), p. 19.
- The German Police (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force: Evaluation and Dissemination Section (G-2), 1945), p. 22.
- Fliegergeschwader z.b.V. 7 2014-07-01.
- The German Police (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force: Evaluation and Dissemination Section (G-2), 1945), p. 101-103.