Granted, Aurors are supposed to be the Wizarding World's vanguard against Dark Lords and whatnot, but unless the Potterverse is under siege by one Dark Lord after another, that doesn't leave them with much to do in peacetime.

Now, I would normally argue that Aurors function like some kind of a police force, but I remember mention of "Hit Wizards" that served under the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (I think a team of Hit Wizards were the ones that arrested Sirius Black).

So, what exactly are the duties of an Auror and how do they differ from Hit Wizards?

  • 5
    I'm just speculating but it seemed like the Hit Wizards where more akin to S.W.A.T. and the Aurors would fall more in line with a Detective, or Special Investigator.
    – Monty129
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 19:38
  • @Monty129 Yes, that does seem to put it in better perspective. Although, now I wonder who the regular police (bobbies) would be...?
    – Steam
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 3:22
  • It may seem like a 'busy' department, but consider that there was Grindelwald's events, then the First Wizarding War, then a hiatus (with many DEs still running around), the escape of Sirius Black, and then the return of a Dark Lord. Maybe in the past there weren't as many Aurors, but there definitely seems like there needs to be many now.
    – Möoz
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 21:53
  • Obviously, they aur. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 10:21

5 Answers 5


As @monty said, it seems that Hit Wizards are pretty much an equivalent to a SWAT or FBI's HRT team (trained and equipped to handle extra dangerous violence prone criminals, who regular Aurors may have trouble with without risk of high casualties to themselves and bystanders) compared to Aurors who are just regular cops/FBI.

There's almost no canon info on Hit Wizards to corroborate that - the Wikia link has exactly one source aside from "in the book, said to have arrested Sirius" - Daily Prophet Newsletters, Feb 8th 1999, p. 2. (where it was mentioned in a Classifieds job ads)

  • I realize British Peacekeeping is different than American, but Aurors seem to be the creme de la creme, like the three letter agencies in the US, or, I've heard, MI5 in the UK. Hit Wizards are like SWAT, in that there are more of them than people at the three letter agencies, and then there is a police officer level as well, then the smaller, more specific enforcement agencies.
    – jfa
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 18:13

Who said anything about there having to be a Dark Lord for there to be stuff for the Aurors to do? Dark Magic isn't just limited to the Dark Lord and his cronies. When there isn't a Dark Lord, there will be folks trying to use the dark arts. You don't need a local mob for there to be robberies and whatnot.

Hit WIzards are completely different. An Auror is the HP counterpart of a detective, the Hit Wizards are SWAT. The Auror will collect information on a Dark wizard, and is powerful enough to survive a confrontation with the wizard. However, if the Auror already knows where to find the wizard, he probably will send the Hit Wizard squad.


According to Wikipedia, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement has the following Offices:

  • Auror Office:

    whose mission is to pursue and apprehend Dark wizards


    Aurors are also used to protect high-profile targets such as Harry, Hogwarts, and the Muggle Prime Minister.

    Aurors seem to be exactly what you suspect; they are a team of highly-skilled and specialised wizards who are capable of dueling Dark Wizards as well as apprehending them. Sounds a bit James Bondish to me, with their "licence to kill" and "interrogation" allowances (only during 1st WW).

  • Improper use of Magic Office:

    responsible for investigating offences under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Confederation of Wizards' Statute of Secrecy.

    So, sounds like they are more like the type of Officers which are in-charge of investigating and charging Wizards with not-so-dire offences.
    Note that they are the ones responsible for 'The Trace'.

  • Magical Law Enforcement Squad:

    which pursues day-to-day law offences.

    This sounds like they are what we know as Police Officers1.

There are other Offices, but they aren't relevant here.

  • The 'Hit-Squad' is explained in the Wikia (credibility is questionable) as:

    comprise a team of highly trained wizards tasked with arresting dangerous criminals.

    They were the ones who were responsible for Sirius' capture (and later re-capture efforst). At one point it was mentioned that they have a bed reserved in St Mungo's.

There are some slight differences between the Wikia and the Wikipedia page; but a good read of both will give you a clear idea of what these Offices (mainly the Aurors') are and do.

  • The sources for Hit-Wizards is the Daily Prophet newsletters and one line in PoA10 "Nobody but trained Hit Wizards from the Magical Law Enforcement Squad would have stood a chance against Black once he was cornered"
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 21:22

I've always personally thought of Magical Law Enforcement Patrol as the normal police, Hit Wizards as Flying Squad/SWAT type force and the Aurors as more like MI5 anti-terrorist division.


The analogy for the Aurors as simple detectives is a disingenuous at best: Aurors are an elite, specialized unit and are thus more well rounded/dangerous than a normal investigator. Their training takes longer, and their entry requirements are higher (5 NEWTs + 3 year training vs 5 OWLS and being over 17). They have Stealth and Concealment training, and are able to use Memory Charms (Shacklebolt used one on Marietta Edgecombe). While Hit Wizards might be akin to SWAT (a fast response team for the Magical Law Enforcement Squad), Aurors are more like CIA/Delta Force personnel, managing Dark Wizards (domestic terrorists) and those dangling with the Dark Arts. But their intelligence work and their investigative skills shouldn't detract from their presence and ability on the field.

While Hit Wizards arrested Sirius, virtually all of the other Death Eaters were hunted and took down by the Aurors. Moreover they were able to use the Unforgivable Curses under Crouch's Administration (reminiscent of James Bond/MI6 "license to kill") and during the First Wizarding War Auror squads were routinely fighting and winning against Giants. If you don't think Aurors take action on the frontlines, just look at Moody. Who's more dangerous, John McClane (police) or Jason Bourne (secret services)? Hard to tell, but the latter can find far more numerous and creative ways to fuck you up than the former ever will.

  • Great answer and welcome to SE. Can you please insert some line breaks and paragraph breaks so the answer is easier to read?
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 20:39

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