Criminal Intelligence Service Austria at a glance

Criminal Intelligence Service Austria, abbreviated to BK, stands for a modern, Austria-wide fight against crime and serves as contact point for police cooperation at national and international level.

In 2003, Criminal Intelligence Service Austria became operational. Its legal basis is the Act on the Establishment and Organisation of Criminal Intelligence Service Austria.

In its function as the central police authority in Austria, Criminal Intelligence Service Austria provides support services and controlling to all provincial CIDs and subordinate police stations. At present, 800 employees work in seven departments at Criminal Intelligence Service Austria.

Tasks of Criminal Intelligence Service Austria

The tasks of Criminal Intelligence Service Austria are stipulated in the rules of procedure and are constantly adjusted to new and emerging forms of crime. At present, Criminal Intelligence Service Austria consists of seven departments, 29 sub-departments and 69 units.

In order to swiftly adapt to new trends and developments and to adopt effective strategies, the cooperation of all law enforcement authorities is of utmost importance and international police cooperation is required. To this end, state-of-the-art analysis tools are used. Criminal Intelligence Service Austria also coordinates Austria’s crime strategy and evaluates findings. Moreover, it is in charge of the training of criminal police officers across Austria and launches international police projects.

Training and Research

Criminal Intelligence Service Austria is responsible for the training and education of criminal police officers as agreed with the Federal Police Academy (SIAK) of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Moreover, it also conducts crime research: emerging crime phenomena have to be constantly detected and identified to enable relevant research and suitable solutions. The knowledge acquired from these efforts serves as the basis for developing concrete instruments and measures which are then made available to subordinate services. Research projects are carried out, among others, with the Austrian Security Research Programme KIRAS.

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Crime Prevention

Solving crimes and holding offenders accountable are the key tasks of the criminal policing. However, a more sustainable solution is to predict and prevent offences. Therefore, crime prevention is a priority of Criminal Intelligence Service Austria. In line with the motto ”prevention matters to all of us“, a cooperation with the economy, governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as communities is being established and projects and campaigns are being initiated. Practised crime prevention means that you have to be in touch with people, listen closely to them and work together to reach solutions. 1,200 crime prevention officers are trained for this task in line with a training plan provided by Criminal Intelligence Service Austria.

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Crime Analysis

Crime analysis is the basis for all police operations. Criminal Intelligence Service Austria provides professional analysis for investigators and police management, so they can take well-informed decisions. Operational and strategic analysis improves the quality of daily police work.

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International Police Cooperation and Wanted Persons

Successful police work calls for international cooperation. Open borders and readily available means of transport and communication have globalised both the economy and crime.
Criminal Intelligence Service Austria is the information hub and contact for international partners. The entire information exchange between Austria and police and judicial authorities abroad is channelled through Criminal Intelligence Service Austria. It also hosts the INTERPOL National Central Bureau, the Europol National Unit and the The Hague Liaison Bureau.
26 liaison officers are posted to 22 countries and to Europol to facilitate international cooperation. All international alerts and notices are processed at Criminal Intelligence Service Austria. The national and international exchange of information about wanted persons and stolen/lost property in the Schengen Information System (SIS), the European network for searches for wanted persons and property, is handled by SIRENE Austria for the entire Austrian police force.

Experts of the Fugitive Active Search Team get involved in cases of operational and highly intensive searches for individual criminals wanted by a warrant of arrest.

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Operational Investigations

Criminal Intelligence Service Austria initiates, manages, coordinates and controls investigations relating to organised crime (OC), violent offences and offences against sexual self-determination, drug-related crime as well as human smuggling and trafficking in human beings. If required, special inquiry teams are set up.

Investigators of the Cold Case Management Unit review and analyse unsolved cases of missing persons and other crimes in order to find new investigative approaches that will help to solve the crime.

Economic crime comprises different forms of offences aimed at misusing the economic system for criminal purposes. This form of crime causes enormous financial damage, hugely impacts the national economy and presents a threat to the rule of law. Multidisciplinary teams at Criminal Intelligence Service Austria work on complex cases and special inquiry teams are set up on demand.

The Economic Crime Department also deals with all kinds of fraud, including Internet fraud and currency counterfeiting as well as gambling and money laundering.

Asset recovery is another priority. The confiscation of the proceeds from crime hits the vital nerve of criminal organisations. If they are deprived of funds, they lack the means for preparing new crimes. Crime increasingly moves from the streets to the Internet. Criminal Intelligence Service Austria has responded to this development and established the “Cybercrime Competence Centre” (C4).
The Competence Centre is considered to be a support service that provides coordination at national and international level, gains know-how and passes it on to local investigators.

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Support Services

By setting up negotiation groups and conducting undercover investigations, Criminal Intelligence Service Austria supports other areas of investigation and units such as the Witness and Victim Protection as well as Criminal Psychology Units. C4 provides assistance to the IT Forensics and IT Evidence Recovery Units.

Besides scientific methods used by forensics, criminalistics and criminology as well as social sciences have become increasingly important for investigations. The Operational Case Analysis Unit helps to study and understand a case involving murder or sexually motivated acts of violence and to develop investigative approaches.

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At a crime scene every little detail counts. Fingerprints, shards of glass, fibres from a pair of jeans, hairs and drops of blood may lead to the true culprit. Therefore, it is highly important to recover all evidence and examine it in the laboratories. Many of these examinations are done at Criminal Intelligence Service Austria. The Chemistry, Physics, Documents and Handwriting Units as well as Biology and Microscopy Units use modern procedures to draw up expert reports for law enforcement agencies.
Identification material such as fingerprints, photographs and DNA profiles are registered at Criminal Intelligence Service Austria and compared against national and international databases. Thus, offenders can be identified and arrested.
The Identification Service maintains the national biometric data collection and database, compares fingerprint traces from crime scenes and analyses DNA profiles in the DNA databases.

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