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Spain

General Information

Admission to the OSCE: 25 June 1973

OSCE Chairmanship in 2007

Policing overview: Two institutions, both under one Directorate General, are tasked with the responsibility for policing in Spain: the National Police, a civilian force that operates mostly in urban areas, and the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard), a police agency with military nature. Both fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior. Autonomous communities, such as the Basque Country (Ertzaintza), Catalonia (Mossos d'Esquadra) and Navarra (Policía Foral), have set up their own police forces, which depend on their own autonomous governments, are deployed and have public security competences only in the geographical area of the autonomous community. Most municipalities also have their own local police, whose principal functions are related to urban traffic, petty crimes and small public security disturbances. There is also a small law enforcement agency within the Ministry of Finances, which is called Customs Surveillance, dealing with customs and smuggling issues.


National Police

1. Functions and missions
2. Structure and organization
3. Staff data
4. Education / Training

1. Functions and missions
The Spanish National Police is an armed civil entity managed by the Directorate General of Police and Civil Guard, which falls under the authority of the State Department of Security in the Ministry of the Interior. It operates in all the capitals of Spain’s fifty provinces, as well as others as designated by the national Government.
Its main functions are to:

  • oversee compliance with national laws and criminal justice codes;
  • protect lives, personal property and goods;
  • safeguard public buildings and facilities and protect Very Important Persons (VIPs);
  • maintain and/or restore public order and security;
  • prevent crime and prosecute perpetrators;
  • investigate criminal offences, identify and arrest presumed offenders and preserve criminal evidence;
  • collect and analyze relevant public order and security information;
  • co-operate with other institutions in catastrophic or high-risk situations; 
  • issue Spanish National Identification Cards and Passports;
  • effectuate border control;
  • implement laws related to foreign issues, asylum, refugees, extradition and migration;
  • monitor gambling regulations;
  • investigate and prosecute drug offences; 
  • co-operate with other national and international law enforcement agencies;
  • monitor the activities of private security companies.

2. Structure and organization 
See the organization chart of the Spanish National Police in the Attachments section.

3. Staff data
As of 2006, Spanish National Police officers numbered about 50,000 and were responsible for the safety and security of some 23 million people who constituted Spain’s urban population; that is, roughly 58% of the total Spanish population. This translates into approximately two police officers for every 1,000 urban residents.

4. Education / Training
There are two possible entry points to join the Spanish National Police: as a Constable or as a Police Inspector. After successfully passing all selective tests and interviews in a public examination, those aspiring to be police officers become Police/Inspector Cadets. Prerequisite is at least a three-year Spanish university degree. Since the year 2000, an appointment as Police Inspector is considered equivalent to a University Degree. The University of Salamanca is tasked with training co-ordination.

Attachments

  Organization Chart - Spanish Directorate General of Police and Civil Guard [Spanish] (78.01 Kb) Organization Chart - Spanish Directorate General of Police and Civil Guard [Spanish] http://polis.osce.org/countries/view?item_id=36&attach_id=150
Organization chart of the Directorate in Spanish
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Civil Guard

1. General information
2. Functions and missions
3. Structure and organization
4. Staff data
5. Education / Training

1. General information
The Spanish Civil Guard is an armed institution of military nature, whose higher body is the Directorate General of Police and Civil Guard, under the authority of the State Department of Security in the Ministry of the Interior.

Since its original founding by the Duke of Ahumada in 1844, the Spanish Civil Guard has served as a force for public order endowed with a structure of military nature and designed to carry out functions related to crime prevention and investigation, as well as to the security and protection of lives, personal property and goods.

2. Functions and missions
The Spanish Civil Guard is mandated to:

  • guarantee public security and maintain public order throughout the territory (land, sea and airspace) within its competence;
  • carry out surveillance, control and protection of public places and facilities;
  • prevent the occurrence of criminal acts;
  • provide fiscal protection to the State against smuggling and fraud (e.g. border police functions, customs, border control, breaking up networks of illegal immigration);
  • ensure orderly traffic circulation and road security on intercity traffic arteries;
  • assist, protect and help the civilian population, intervening to mitigate high-risk circumstances (e.g. natural catastrophes);
  • assist the judicial police, judges and tribunals, as well as collaborating with the public prosecutor in the investigation of crimes, the detention of suspects, police elaboration of technical reports, and collection and custody of evidence;
  • obtain and analyze data of interest for public security, especially in the fight against terrorism;
  • implement the intercity transfer of prisoners, detainees and witnesses; and
  • safeguard weapons and explosives.

3. Structure and organization
The deployment of the Spanish Civil Guard takes place on four levels, basically coinciding with the administrative structure of the State, as follows: 2,100 police stations; 200 companies; 57 provincial headquarters and 17 regional areas.

4. Staff data 
As of 2004, the Spanish Civil Guard numbered about 73,000 agents, of which more than 2,500 were women. Many of them have highly specialized training in areas as diverse as fiscal matters, intelligence, criminology and explosives. In contrast to these operative specialties is the traditional Traffic Unit, which counts almost 9,000 staff. Under normal circumstances, 40% of the Spanish population live in areas under the jurisdiction of the Civil Guard; however, during the holiday season, that percentage increases to 65%.

5. Education / Training
The senior staff has to pass 5 years of police and military education in the academies and they receive an university degree as Lieutenants of Guardia Civil. The basic staff have one year training in the academy and one year on-the-job-training before graduatin as “Guardias Civiles”. In all the cases a selection process with public competition is assured.

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Criminal Justice System

The General Council of the Judicial Power is the independent Government body responsible for the judicial power and has jurisdiction over the whole country. It is, however, the Government body responsible for all the courts which make up the Judicial Power. Subordinate to it are the Government Chambers of the Supreme Court, the National High Court (Audiencia Nacional), the High Courts of Justice, and the other jurisdictional bodies with government attributions in their respective areas (Presidents of the Courts, senior judges, committees of judges, and judges).

However, despite being the Government's body of the Judicial Power, the Council is not a jurisdictional body, nor is it part of one. It does not take part in the judicial function. The exercise of judicial authority, both in terms of decisions and execution of verdicts, is vested exclusively in the courts and tribunals laid down by the law and by international treaties.

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Links

Ministry of the Interior - Spain  Ministry of the Interior - Spain http://www.mir.es/
Official website of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior

National Police - Spain  National Police - Spain http://www.policia.es
Official website of the Spanish National Police

Civil Guard - Spain  Civil Guard - Spain http://www.guardiacivil.org/
Official website of the Spanish Guardia Civil

OSCE/ ODIHR Legislationline - Spain  OSCE/ ODIHR Legislationline - Spain http://www.legislationline.org/topics/country/2/topic/12
Legislationline is a gratis internet-based legislative database published and maintained by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Last Updated: 14 June 2007

Also see: Portugal, France, Andorra

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