file a criminal complaint

If you have knowledge of a crime, whether you have been harmed yourself or witnessed a crime, you can report it to the police online. This informs the law enforcement authorities about the event and how it happened.

Important notes


Anyone with knowledge of a criminal offense can report it. You don't have to meet any specific requirements.

Documents required


Please note

If you file a complaint, you are basically a witness in the criminal proceedings. It may be necessary to summon you to the responsible police station as part of the further processing of your report, for example to be able to conduct a witness hearing with you personally.
Anyone who is aware of a criminal offense but fails to report it may be liable to prosecution. There are no special form requirements. Caution is advised when dealing with a suspected criminal offence. Defamation and false suspicion are punishable, here the person who submits the complaint must expect legal action against himself. Crimes such as murder, robbery, war crimes and high treason must be reported.
A criminal complaint cannot be withdrawn. You should therefore think twice before filing a criminal complaint. According to the principle of legality, the authorities are then obliged to investigate.


A deadline cannot be met. However, you should note the respective statute of limitations, because criminal offenses normally become statute-barred after a certain period of time.

Procedure & Fees


A notification can be made or submitted online, in writing, by telephone or verbally.
If you want to submit the advertisement online:
The online submission of an advertisement takes place in several steps.
You can file a criminal complaint via the Internet portal. This can involve a variety of crimes.
You access the Internet portal via a central URL. The federal state responsible for processing is selected based on the location of the event. After selecting the appropriate crime-oriented form for reporting, you can provide basic information about yourself (e.g. personal details, cell phone number, email address). You can then enter data on the crime scene, the time of the crime, the perpetrator and the event itself. The recording is accompanied by legal instructions (instructions for witnesses or suspects as well as the requirement to file a criminal complaint and a notice of termination).
It is possible to send documents such as purchase receipts, receipts and/or images such as screenshots, images of damage or stolen items with the ad.
After submitting the advertisement, you will receive an e-mail with a process number and the contact details of the processing department.
The responsible police department receives the report and examines it. If you report a crime that was committed outside Germany or in another federal state, the prosecuting authority will forward the report to the competent authority.
The public prosecutor's office will only discontinue the investigation if no investigation approaches are available. The chances of success differ depending on the type of crime. Basically, the more information you provide, the higher the chances that the police will find the perpetrator.
Anyone who knowingly and wrongly suspects a person commits a crime. The legislature provides for a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.

Processing time

After receipt of the online advertisement, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with a transaction number. The processing time depends on various factors. A time limit is not possible.



Legal notes

Legal remedies


Legal basis

Designation: Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), § 158 criminal complaint, criminal complaint

Downloads & Links

Service description

If you have knowledge of a crime, whether you have been harmed yourself or witnessed a crime, you can report it to the police online. This informs the law enforcement authorities about the event and how it happened.

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