Arrests without Warrant or Judicial Review: Preventive Police Action in Nazi Germany, as of February 28, 1933
Translated from Werner Best, Der Deutsche Polizei (Darmstadt: L.C. Wittich Verlag, 1940), pp. 31-33.
Guidelines for Preventive Police Action against Crime:
In the internal distribution of responsibilities of the police, prevention of “political crimes” is assigned to the Secret State Police [Gestapo]. In other cases the criminal police is responsible for the prevention of crime. The criminal police operates according to guidelines in the prevention of crime according to the following principles:
The tools used in the prevention of crime are systematic police surveillance and police preventive arrest.
Systematic police surveillance can be used against those professional criminals who live or have lived, entirely or in part, from the proceeds of their criminal acts and who have been convicted in court and sentenced at least three times to prison, or to jail terms of at least three months, for crimes from which they hoped to profit.
Further, habitual criminals are eligible if they commit crimes out of some criminal drive or tendency and have been sentenced three times to prison, or to jail terms of at least three months, for the same or similar criminal acts. The last criminal act must have been committed less than five years ago. The time the criminal spent in prison or on the run is not counted. New criminal acts that lead to additional convictions suspend this time limit.
All persons who are released from preventive police arrest must be placed under systematic police surveillance.
Finally, systematic police surveillance is to be ordered despite these regulations if it is necessary for the protection of the national community [Volksgemeinschaft ].
In the application of systematic police surveillance the police can attach conditions such as requiring the subject to stay in or avoid particular places, setting curfews, requiring the subject to report periodically, or forbidding the use of alcohol, or other activities; in fact, restrictions of any kind may be imposed on the subject as part of systematic police surveillance.
Systematic police surveillance lasts as long as is required to fulfill its purpose. At least once every year the police must reexamine whether the surveillance is still required.
Preventive police arrest can be used against the following:
Professional and habitual criminals who violate the conditions imposed on them during the systematic police surveillance of them or who commit additional criminal acts.
Professional criminals who live or have lived, entirely or in part, from the proceeds of their criminal acts and who have been convicted in court and sentenced at least three times to prison, or to jail terms of at least three months, for crimes from which they hoped to profit.
Habitual criminals if they have committed crimes out of some criminal drive or tendency and have been sentenced three times to prison, or to jail terms of at least three months, for the same or similar criminal acts.
Persons who have committed a serious criminal offense and are likely to commit additional crimes and thereby constitute a public danger if they were to be released, or who have indicated a desire or intention of committing a serious criminal act even if the prerequisite of a previous criminal act is not established.
Persons who are not professional or habitual criminals but whose antisocial behavior constitutes a public danger.
Persons who refuse to identify, or falsely identify themselves, if it is concluded that they are trying to hide previous criminal acts or attempting to commit new criminal acts under a new name.
Normally, police preventive arrest is to be used against these persons if it is concluded that the more mild measure of systematic police surveillance will unlikely be successful.