The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is the largest department at the Ministry of Magic. Arguably the most important of the various departments, it is a combination of police and justice facilities, and is roughly the equivalent to the Home Office of Muggle Britain or the Department of Justice in the United States. All other departments are answerable to this one, with the exception of the Department of Mysteries.
Level Two of the Ministry of Magic houses the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Around the corner from the access lift, and past a set of heavy oak doors, lies the Auror Headquarters: a large open area divided into small cubicles, one for each Auror. A second set of double doors and another passage lead to a dimly lit and distinctly shabby corridor. A broom cupboard sits at the left end of the corridors, and the right side has 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.
An Auror is a highly trained specialist officer who investigate crimes involving the Dark Arts and apprehend Dark Wizards. According to Minerva McGonagall, the Auror Office takes in new recruits with a minimum of 5 N.E.W.T.s (with marks no lower than 'Exceeds Expectations'). She suggests that Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology are the most appropriate for someone who aspires to be admitted to the training programme. A potential recruit will also have to pass "...a series of character and aptitude tests."
Nymphadora Tonks mentions that two of the programme's courses of study are "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking" and that the training is hard to pass with high marks (a requirement). Aurors are 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 and torture them.
Many of the Dark criminals first duel with the Aurors sent to arrest them before finally giving up their freedom. Aurors are also used to protect high-profile targets such as Harry, Hogwarts, and the Muggle Prime Minister.
Improper Use of Magic Office
This office, the Improper Use of Magic Office, punishes violations of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. This includes underage witches and wizards intentionally using magic, which suggests that this office may be in charge of the Trace, permitting them to monitor the magic used by those under the age of seventeen.
Wizengamot Administration Services
An office which undertakes administrative and clerical duties for the Wizengamot. Its function seem analogous to Muggle court registries; this would typically include maintenance of court documents, hearing dates, judges' schedules, and the administration of legal proceedings.
Administrative Registration Department
The Administrative Registration Department is 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.
Department of Intoxicating Substances
Hit Wizards comprise a team of highly trained wizards tasked with arresting dangerous criminals. The entry requirements include five O.W.L.s, one of which must be Defence Against the Dark Arts. The equivalent of a Muggle S.W.A.T. Team. Members have 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.
Magical Law Enforcement Patrol
The Magical Law Enforcement Patrol (formerly the Magical Law Enforcement Squad) is 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 are a special Ministry force that presumably is stationed at strategical places in search of fugitive criminals.
Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office
This office regulates the use of magic on Muggle objects and confiscates those which have been illegally bewitched. One of the laws they enforce is the prohibition on magically altering a Muggle vehicle with the intent to fly it. It was headed by Arthur Weasley until his promotion in 1996.
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.
Heads of department
- Bob Ogden: Head whilst he visited the Gaunt's home.
- Justus Pilliwickle: former department head; one of the most notable on the post
- 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, killed by Lord Voldemort in the summer of 1996
- Pius Thicknesse: former department head, subjugated by 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 is the current head of the department and has been since 2019.
- Frank Longbottom: former Auror; permanently incapacitated by means of the Cruciatus Curse in 1981 or 1982
- Alice Longbottom: former Auror; permanently incapacitated by means of the Cruciatus Curse in 1981 or 1982
- Rufus Scrimgeour: former Head of the Auror Office; promoted to Minister for Magic in 1996
- John Dawlish
- Alastor Moody: Retired; deceased. Defeated by Death Eater in 1997
- Gawain Robards: 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: Deceased. Defeated by Bellatrix Lestrange in 1998
- Harry Potter: Former head of the Auror Office and is now head of Magical Law Enforcement.
- Ron Weasley: Resigned from Auror Office and began working with his brother George Weasley at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley in 2000
- Bob Ogden: Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Office in the 1920s
- Dolores Umbridge: Head of the Improper Use of Magic Office sometime before 1995; Imprisoned in Azkaban for her crimes against humanity after Voldemort's defeat in 1998 which gave her a life sentence.
- Elphinstone Urquart: senior officer of the department in the 1950s; late husband of Minerva McGonagall.
- Minerva McGonagall: from 1954 to 1956, became Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
- Mafalda Hopkirk: works in the Improper Use of Magic Office in the 1990s; responsible for sending letters to underage wizards who use 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 is now the current Minister for Magic.
- 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)
Notes and references