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The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the largest department at the Ministry of Magic, and roughly the equivalent to the Home Office of Muggle Britain. All other Ministry departments were answerable to this one, with the exception of the Department of Mysteries.
- 1 Function
- 2 Office location
- 3 History
- 4 Divisions
- 4.1 Main divisions
- 4.2 Sub divisions
- 4.2.1 Administrative Registration Department
- 4.2.2 Department of Intoxicating Substances
- 4.2.3 Hit Wizards
- 4.2.4 Investigation Department
- 4.2.5 Magical Law Enforcement Patrol
- 4.2.6 Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers
- 4.2.7 Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office
- 4.2.8 Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects
- 5 Personnel
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Notes and references
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the biggest and arguably the most important of the various departments in the Ministry of Magic, functioning as a combination of police and justice facilities. As such, it had many different subdivisions through which it worked to uphold wizarding laws.
Being the department that upholds the laws of Britain's wizarding community, all other departments, aside from the secretive Department of Mysteries, were answerable to it. Because of this, the influence and authority carried by the Head of this department could be very high. Former Head Bartemius Crouch Senior utilised his powers to permit the usage of the Unforgivable Curses against the enemies, among other law changes that seem atrocious under times of peace. Crouch Senior was so incredibly popular that he was slated to become the next Minister for Magic.
Former head Pius Thicknesse had a large network of connections with the heads of the other Departments, which the Death Eaters took advantage of when they worked to subjugate him, thus enabling them to easily spread their Imperius Curses into the majority of the bureaucracy.
Level Two of the Ministry of Magic housed the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Once the personnel and/or guests stepped out of the lift, they found themselves in a corridor lined with doors on both sides, around the corner of which there were a set of heavy oak doors leading into the Auror Headquarters: a large open area divided into small cubicles, one for each Auror.
A second set of double doors and another passage led to a dimly lit and distinctly shabby corridor. A broom cupboard sat at the left end of the corridors, and the right side had the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office: a room of almost the same size as the cupboard, with two desks and overflowing filing cabinets crammed inside.
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was founded by the first Minister for Magic, Ulick Gamp, and it became his greatest legacy.
Justus Pilliwickle worked for the Ministry of Magic in the 19th century. He was a celebrated Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. His work in the department earned him is own Chocolate Frog Card.
In the 1970s, Barty Crouch Snr was a Head of the department, famous for aggressively prosecuting Dark Wizards in the days of Voldemort's rise to power. His fervour led him to authorise methods almost as bad as those of the Death Eaters they were hunting; he allowed the Aurors to use the Unforgivable Curses, and imprisoned people like Sirius Black in Azkaban without a trial. Crouch was much admired at the time, but fell from grace around 1982 after he sentenced his own son to Azkaban for being a Death Eater. After losing out the position as Minister for Magic to Cornelius Fudge, Barty was demoted to being the Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation. He was later murdered by his son in 1995.
The 1980s trial in which Crouch sentenced his son to Azkaban was notorious. It was governed by the Council of Magical Law. Four culprits were brought before the council: Bartemius Crouch Jnr, Bellatrix Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, and Rodolphus Lestrange. The offence was described as so heinous that such a crime was rarely heard of in court. It was for the capture and torture of Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom. The Longbottoms were heavily tortured by all four Death Eaters by the means of the Cruciatus Curse, eventually their minds snapping from the strain, and they became permanently insane. During the court proceedings the crowd roared in savage pleasure when Crouch Snr proposed that they send the Death Eaters to Azkaban for life, and the sentence was passed without question.
Amelia Bones was the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in 1995 and presided over the Wizengamot. Amelia was described as being a fair individual. However, despite her fair nature, the department did hold bias within it. This was due to Minister Fudge's vendetta against Harry Potter. On 12 August 1995, a full criminal trial was held during Harry's disciplinary hearing, even though his infraction was a simple case of underage magic. It turned out to be nothing but a show trial and merely a way for Fudge to further his agenda, though the intervention of Dumbledore prevented his plan. About a year later, Amelia was murdered “nastily” by Death Eaters; it was speculated that she was murdered by Voldemort himself.
After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic in 1997, Pius Thicknesse became the head of the Minister for Magic. He was under the Imperius Curse and was acting as a puppet for Voldemort, in order to do the Dark Lord's bidding. Under his reign many atrocities were committed, such as the formation of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and the sentencing of numerous Muggle-borns to Azkaban.
After the Second Wizarding War, the corruption within the department and the rest of the Ministry was weeded out and it became an enjoyable place to work. Hermione Granger became a deputy Head in this department and helped rid the wizarding community of the pro-pure-blood laws that were in effect. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley joined the Auror Office at the age of 17 and helped reshuffle it. Harry became Head Auror at the age of 26, and by the summer of 2020 Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
An Auror was a highly trained specialist officer who investigated crimes involving the Dark Arts and apprehended Dark Wizards. According to Minerva McGonagall, the Auror Office took in new recruits with a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s (with marks no lower than 'Exceeds Expectations'). She suggested that Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology were the most appropriate for someone who aspired to be admitted to the training programme. A potential recruit also had to pass "...a series of character and aptitude tests."
Nymphadora Tonks mentioned that two of the programme's courses of study were "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking", and that the training was hard to pass with high marks (a requirement). Aurors were the magical equivalents of Muggle counter-terrorism operatives and, during the First Wizarding War, Aurors were authorised to use the Unforgivable Curses on suspected Death Eaters; specifically, they were given the licence to kill, coerce or torture them.
Many of the Dark wizards would first duel with the Aurors sent to arrest them before surrendering, or even fight to the death. Aurors were also used to protect high-profile targets such as Harry, Hogwarts, and the Muggle Prime Minister.
Improper Use of Magic Office
This office punished violations of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. This included underage witches and wizards intentionally using magic, which suggests that this office may have been in charge of the Trace. This permitted them to monitor the magic used by those under the age of seventeen. When an underage witch or wizard did magic in a Muggle household, the Ministry was immediately notified of the situation. However, if an underage witch or wizard did magic within a magical home, the department was not notified.
Wizengamot Administration Services
This office undertook administrative and clerical duties for the Wizengamot. Its function appeared to be analogous to Muggle court registries. This would typically include maintenance of court documents, hearing dates, judges' schedules, and the administration of legal proceedings. In addition to being like Muggle court registries, they also functioned as secretaries to the members of the Wizengamot.
Administrative Registration Department
The Administrative Registration Department was responsible for the registration of the wizarding population. After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was created under this department. It was also possible the Animagus Registry was found within this department. It was possible that if a witch or wizard had a child, they had to register the baby as a member of the magical community of Great Britain through this department.
Department of Intoxicating Substances
The Department of Intoxicating Substances was a sub-division of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and was responsible for making regulations on the consumption of alcoholic beverages. This included no alcohol being sold to underage witches and wizards. The department appeared to have been rather strict when it came to underage alcohol sales, putting up notices that warned against it. It is unknown what the punishment was for serving alcohol to underage wizards.
Hit Wizards comprised of a team of highly trained wizards tasked with arresting dangerous criminals. The entry requirements included five O.W.L.s, one of which had to be Defence Against the Dark Arts. Possibly the equivalent of a Muggle S.W.A.T. Team. Members had a personal bed reserved at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. In 1993, Cornelius Fudge suggested that only Hit Wizards should attempt to capture Sirius Black, an Azkaban escapee then believed to be a highly dangerous criminal.
The Investigation Department was a subdivision of the Auror Office. It centred on investigation and tracking down dark wizards. This division also existed in MACUSA's Department of Magical Law Enforcement as well. This department most likely had a part to play in the tracking down of high-profile criminals. It is possible that this department was utilised when Sirius Black was on the run from the authorities.
Magical Law Enforcement Patrol
The Magical Law Enforcement Patrol (formerly the Magical Law Enforcement Squad) was tasked with general law enforcement, like with the Muggle police. In the 1920s it was headed by Bob Ogden, who led a team to Little Hangleton to arrest Marvolo and Morfin Gaunt for crimes against both Muggles and the Ministry, since the House of Gaunt had avoided previous attempts at arrest.
Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers
Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers were a special Ministry force that was presumably stationed at strategic places in search of fugitive criminals. This branch of the department was in charge of the 1993 manhunt for Sirius Black. It is also possible that they were in charge of tracking the escapees of the 1996 mass Azkaban breakout. The procedures and practices of this department are mostly unknown.
Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office
This office regulated the use of magic on Muggle objects and confiscated those which had been illegally bewitched. One of the laws they enforced is the prohibition of magically altering a Muggle vehicle with the intent to fly it. It was headed by Arthur Weasley until his promotion in 1996. It is implied that this office did not get sufficient funding, as there was only a few employees within the relatively small department. It also did not get a lot of respect from fellow Ministry workers.
Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects
This office was created in 1996 by Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, in response to the growing threat of Lord Voldemort and the rise of dangerous or dubious spells and products which claimed to provide protection against the Dark Arts. Arthur Weasley was promoted to head this operation. Its duties involved preventing the trade of fake and/or useless spells, potions and artefacts that appeared during the Second Wizarding War. It is unknown if this department was still in use after the war.
|Heads of department||Justus Pilliwickle||Former department head; one of the most notable on the post.|
|Torquil Travers||Former department head, served during the 1920s.|
|Barty Crouch Snr||Former department head, demoted to head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation after his son's exposure as a Death Eater in 1981.|
|Amelia Bones||Former department head, murdered by Lord Voldemort in the summer of 1996.|
|Pius Thicknesse||Former department head, subjugated by Corban Yaxley and promoted to Minister for Magic.|
|Corban Yaxley||Former department head, during the Death Eaters' control of the Ministry of Magic.|
|Harry Potter||Harry was head of the department from at least 2019.|
|Aurors||Rufus Scrimgeour||Former Head of the Auror Office; promoted to Minister for Magic in 1996.|
|Frank Longbottom||Former Aurors; permanently incapacitated by means of the Cruciatus Curse in 1981 or 1982.|
|Alastor Moody||Retired by 1994 and murdered by Voldemort in 1997|
|Gawain Robards||Became head of the Auror Office following Scrimgeour's promotion in 1996.|
|Kingsley Shacklebolt||Promoted to Minister for Magic following Voldemort's defeat in 1998.|
|Nymphadora Tonks||Murdered during the Battle of Hogwarts when she was defeated by Bellatrix Lestrange in 1998.|
|Harry Potter||Former head of the Auror Office and later Head of Magical Law Enforcement by 2019.|
|Ron Weasley||Resigned from the Auror Office and began working with his brother George Weasley at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley in 2000.|
|Other personnel||Bob Ogden||Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad in the 1920s.|
|Leta Lestrange||Assistant to the Head of the Department in at least 1927.|
|Dolores Umbridge||Head of the Improper Use of Magic Office sometime before 1995; Imprisoned in Azkaban for life for her crimes against humanity after Voldemort's defeat in 1998.|
|Elphinstone Urquart||Senior officer of the department in the 1950s; late husband of Minerva McGonagall.|
|Minerva McGonagall||From 1954 to 1956, after which she became Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.|
|Mafalda Hopkirk||Worked in the Improper Use of Magic Office in the 1990s; responsible for sending letters to underage wizards who used magic outside of Hogwarts.|
|Perkins||Worker in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office.|
|Arthur Weasley||Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office under Cornelius Fudge; Head of the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects under Rufus Scrimgeour.|
|Hermione Granger||After working with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, she eventually took a senior position in this department, reaching the level of Deputy Head of the Department by 2014. Hermione went on to be Minister for Magic by 2019.|
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (companion book) (Mentioned only)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
Notes and references