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Police Flags (Germany)

Deutsche Polizeifahnen, Colours of the Police

Last modified: 2017-11-12 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: germany | police |
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I have made some research in a quite special topic, the Polizeifahnen (Colours of the Police) in Germany. Here some (very preliminary) results:

1) All of them are not flags to be hoisted on a mast, but ceremonial Colours for police units. In German they are called Fahne, not Flagge. As I learned there is usually only one specimen available. In most cases this ceremonial colour is kept with the Bereitschaftspolizei (mobile police) or in the office of the police president. These Polizeifahnen are basically unofficial, as they are not prescribed in any law or regulation.

The typical pattern (with many variations) is a plain green (the police colour) or blue background with the police star in the center. The police star (usually 12-pointed) is either golden or silver and shows in its center the coat-of-arms of the respective state /Land). Around the Colour there is a fringe.

Baden-Württemberg: According to an e-mail from the Baden-Württemberg police they have a green Fahne with the police star. As I got no photo, I made no image.
Bavaria: The Bayerische Bereitschaftspolizei has a so-called Ehrenfahne (Honour Colour).
Berlin: According to a phone call from the police historical collection there is a Fahne of the Berlin police. This is blue with the police star and silver fringe, dimensions 50 × 50 cm. It was manufactured for the visit of US president Kennedy to Berlin. As I got no photo, I made no image.
The colour of the Hamburg Police can be seen : here.
Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

The polices of the other Länder either have not answered my request up to now, or the answering persons knew nothing about Colours. Police historians also seem to be unaware of the Polizeifahnen. Beside these Police Colours there are no police flags proper, i.e. specific flags hoisted at police buildings. What you can find, though, are car flags for higher police officials. Furthermore there are a vast amount of totally unofficial table flags and table pennants. These usually show the colours of the Land flag with the respective police star in the center. However, these unofficial flags merely serve decorative purposes.

  • Lupant 1995a
  • E-mails from the Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg police, phone call from the Bavarian and Berlin police historical collections

Marcus Schmöger, 22 October 2001

Flags hoisted in Front of Police Buildings

In West Germany after WW2 there had been no central police organization in order to avoid the errors under NS government. Since then the police always was an affair of the states, which were in charge of the police as part of the state's ministry of interior. Roughly all these state polices forces are divided into a Constabulary (Schutzpolizei), a CID (Kriminalpolizei) and a Harbour Police, which today is the naval arm of the Constabulary (Wasserschutzpolizei).

Besides there existed some federal institutions: the Railway Police (Bahnpolizei), the Federal Border Protection Forces (Bundesgrenzschutz (BGS)/ and customs (Zoll).
At the end of the 20th century first the Railway Police joined the BGS, a few years later BGS and customs merged. Since then the organization was renamed as Federal Police (Bundespolizei), subordinated under the federal ministry of interior. The naval arm is called Coast Guard (Küstenwache).

The Federal Police has no proper flag and flies the service flag (Bundesdienstflagge) , the Coast Guard afloat flies the ensign (Bundesdienstflagge zur See).

The state police forces fly:
1) the federal flag
2) the state flag
3) if there is a 3rd pole the Europe flag
They also have no proper flags.

I have got three examples:
1) Northrhine Westphalia Police flies the state flag (with CoA) besides the federal flag (spotted in front of Bielefeld police HQ on 1 May 2012).
2) Hamburg Police flies the city flag besides the federal flag, this is also valid for the Harbour Police, which surprisingly does not fly the Admiralty Flag (spotted in front of harbour police's precinct Ellerholzdamm in Hamburg on 9 May 2012).
3) Bavaria Police flies "Raute" , i.e. the lozengy flag besides the federal flag (information confirmed by a police captain in train to Hannover).

In East Germany had been a Constabulary (Schutzpolizei) in the beginning. But very early (before 1950) this organization was transformed into the People's Police (Volkspolizei), which became also a part in the communist system.
Besides there was a Border Polizei Force (Grenzpolizei), which was more or less an equivalent to West German BGS.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 Jul 2012

The Border Polizei Force existed until 1961, after that it was moved from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Defense (Ministerium für Nationale Verteidigung) and was renamed to "Border Troups" (Grenztruppen).
Dirk Schönberger, 10 Jul 2012

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