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NCJ Number: 201694 Find in a Library
Title: Competence of the Police in Investigation Proceedings (From UNAFEI Annual Report for 2001 and Resource Material Series No. 60, P 35-57, 2003, Sean Eratt, ed. -- See NCJ-201693)
Author(s): Eberhard Siegismund
Date Published: February 2003
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders
Tokyo, Japan
Sale Source: United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders
26-1 Harumi-Cho, Fuchu
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: Japan
Annotation: This paper provides an overview of relevant law and the scope of police activity in criminal investigations in Germany and discusses the extension of police powers, current models for cooperation in response to specific kinds of crime, and how constructive cooperation between the police and judicial authorities could be structured.
Abstract: Under German law, as soon as the public prosecution office receives knowledge of a suspected criminal offense, it must investigate the facts to determine whether public charges are warranted. It is authorized to conduct investigations out of its office or through the police force. Police officials are obliged to comply with a request or order from the public prosecution office. Police also have the authority to conduct investigations without an application by the public prosecution office. This paper lists the coercive powers authorized for use by the police, as well as those that can be exercised by the public prosecution office. The statutory distribution of tasks between the public prosecution office and the police are also outlined. The public prosecution office typically leads investigations into crimes that involve government, politically motivated criminal offenses, and legally complex environmental or economic crime. For the most part, such investigations involve issues that can only be addressed by experts trained in criminal or commercial law. Police are responsible for conducting most criminal investigations, however. Because local police forces are not capable of conducting criminal investigations of cases that involve national and international criminal operations, the Federal Criminal Police Office was established to collect information and coordinate criminal investigations and criminological research that involve crimes of national and international scope. This paper describes the information systems that are available for use in such investigations. The section of the paper that discusses the extension of the powers of the police under the law of criminal procedure in Germany focuses on the obligation of a witness to appear before the police and make statements and the independent power of the police to terminate the investigation when the perpetrators are unknown. The author advises that any attempts by the police to obtain more latitude and more freedom from the influence and control of the public prosecution office must be addressed with extreme caution, and he advises that there should be no further consideration of the idea of shifting powers of the public prosecution office to the police. Strong support, however, should be given to joint endeavors by the public prosecution office and the police in dividing up the tasks that arise in the course of an investigation. Appended supplementary tables and information
Main Term(s): Police prosecutor relations
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice systems; Foreign laws; Foreign police; Germany; Interagency cooperation; Investigative powers; Investigative techniques; Police information systems; Police responsibilities; Prosecution; Prosecutorial discretion
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