Law Enforcement overview
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Bulgaria is the main governmental body tasked with enforcing laws and protecting public order in the country. It serves as an overarching authority for 4 directorates tasked with different areas of responsibilities: National Police General Directorate, General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime, Border Police General Directorate and Fire Safety and Civil Protection General Directorate, as well as a Special Unit for Combating Terrorism.
Cyber/ICT Security overview
National Co-ordination and Organizational network for cyber/ICT security represents the core national cyber/ICT security system and is composed of relevant public and private entities that are responsible for operating and managing Bulgaria's cyber/ICT components, assets and segments. National Cyber Security Coordinator is tasked with developing a National Cyber Security Strategy, a Cyber Security Action Plan, and performing other cyber/ICT security-related tasks.
General Directorate National Police (GDNP)
Functions and missions
The General Directorate National Police is a national specialized structure for the realization of the following activities:
- operative - investigation;
- investigation of common crimes;
- administrative and penal and provision of administrative services.
The GDNP is tasked to prevent, react to and investigate crimes; organize and carry out searches of persons and objects and identification of bodies and individuals; operate places of detention, ensure public order, carry out activities on restoration and protection of public order at mass events, including sport ones, at riots and crises of a different nature; operate on security, including the use of security alarm guarded objects; carry out activities on protection of objects, events, special cargo, dangerous cargo and valuables within the country; participate in police operations and in the counteraction of terrorist acts; organize, control and carry out piloting and support of officials and delegations; escorting persons in the country and abroad, monitor compliance with Road Traffic Act, etc.
The Gendarmerie is a special police force within the GDNP with military status deployed to secure important facilities, buildings and infrastructure, to respond to riots, and to counter militant threats. Its agents are trained to operate in both urban and wilderness environments so as to be able to carry out a wide range of duties.
Structure and organization
The GDNP is headed by the Director, who is directly in charge of the Coordination and Administrative Service Department and the Information Analysis and Planning Department. Three Deputy Directors are in charge of, respectively:
- Criminal Police Department; Economic Police Department;
- Investigation Department;
- Public Order Police Department, Traffic Police Department, Gendarmerie Directorate;
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Bulgaria has 4 education and scientific institutions that are tasked with training and educating law enforcement personnel in the country:
The Academy of the Ministry of Interior is a higher education institution in the Republic of Bulgaria for the preparation of civil servants for the needs of the Ministry of Interior. The Academy offers study programmes on two faculties: the faculty of policing, and the faculty of fire safety and protection of the population. The Faculty of policing prepares state officials with higher education for the specialized police structures, as well as for the Directorates of the General and Specialized Administrations of the Ministry of the Interior and the Specialized Anti-Terrorism Unit. It offers educational qualification degrees of Bachelor in the specializations:
- Countering Crime and Public Order,
- Public Administration,
- Border Police,
- Corporate Security,
and Master in the specializations:
- Countering Crime and Public Order,
- National Security Protection,
- Strategic Management and Security and Public Order Management,
- Public Administration,
- Psychological support for operative-search activities.
The Academy has a Doctoral programme in the following areas:
- Organization and management outside the sphere of material production (internal order and security),
- Criminal Law,
- Criminal Procedure,
- Psychology of the Activity.
- Administrative law and process.
The Medical Institute of the Ministry of Interior is a medical institution, scientific-teaching and scientific-applied institute for the implementation of the health care activity. At the Medical Institute of the Ministry of Interior, the research activity is directed at the development of scientific and applied science and the related development of young scientists, as well as in the development of international contacts with leading specialists from other countries.
The Institute of Psychology, establishеd in 1971, is a time-tested leader in the field of applied psychology in Bulgaria. It is the only national centre to develop psychological science and practice as a priority. The Institute assists all central and regional structures of the Ministry of Interior, providing expertise in the activities and policies involved in the selection, training, development, caring for the mental well-being and management of human resources, as well as direct support in the functional activities of the Ministry, such as crime investigations and matters of national security.
The Forensic Research Institute of the Ministry of the Interior conducts research in the field of forensic science, criminology, forensic medical science, prepares experts for various structural units of The Ministry of Interior and develops new methods for detecting and investigating traces and material evidence.
The Research Institute of Forensic Sciences of the Ministry of Interior conducts examinations in the field of forensic science, prepares experts for various structural units of the Ministry of Interior and develops new methods for detecting and investigating traces and material evidence.
General Directorate Combating Organised Crime (GDCOC)
Functions and missions
The General Directorate Combating Organized Crime is a specialized operation and search service of the Ministry of Interior for combating and dismantling the criminal activity of local and transnational criminal structures. The GDCOC carries out independently or jointly with other specialized bodies activities of operation and search, informational and organizational nature to combat organized crime. The GDCOC is tasked with the following activities related to tackling local and transnational organized criminal structures, related to:
- customs regime, monetary, tax and insurance system;
- narcotic substances, their analogues and precursors;
- computer crimes or crimes committed in or through computer networks and systems;
- intellectual property;
- fake or forged monetary units, payment instruments and official documents;
- human trafficking;
- trafficking of cultural property;
- firearms, explosives, chemical, biological or other generally dangerous means, as well as with dual-use arms, devices and technologies;
- corruption in the state authorities;
- terrorist activities, use of generally dangerous means and substances, instilling fear, taking of hostages, abduction of persons for material gain and forceful actions;
- money laundering and hazard;
- conclusion of disadvantageous contracts, money laundering and benefiting of European Union funds by fraud.
General Directorate Border Police (GDBP)
Functions and missions
General Directorate Border Police is a national specialized structure for realization of the activities under Art. 6 from the Ministry of Interior Act, Para 1, Items 1 – 3, 6 – 9 (operative – investigative, security, investigative, information, control, preventive and administrative and penal) in the border zone, in the zones of the border checkpoints, international airports and ports, in the internal sea waters, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the Bulgarian part of the River Danube and the other border rivers and waters. The GDGP carry out activities of border surveillance, inspection and control, counter illegal migration, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, installing and maintaining operational border signs, prevention of illegal actions on the state border, developing maps and documentation of the state border and maintenance of geodesy and cartography fund.
Structure and organization
The GDBP is headed by the Director. There are 3 deputies, responsible for
- Border control,
- Administration and IT.
There are 2 Directorates within GDBP:
- Border Control Directorate,
- Combating Crime Across the State Border Directorate.
In addition to these, there is a Specialized Air Surveillance Unit that has 2 Air Bases:
- Airbase Sofia – responsible for border surveillance (Serbia and North Macedonia);
- Airbase Bezmer – responsible for border surveillance (Turkey and the Black Sea).
There are 7 Regional Directorates “Border Police”. Each of these Regional Directorates is responsible for the protection, surveillance and control of a respective border:
- RDBP Ruse - Romania,
- RDBP Dragoman - Serbia,
- RDBP Kyustendil - North Macedonia,
- RDBP Smolyan - Greece,
- RDBP Elhovo - Turkey,
- RDBP Burgas - Maritime borders,
- RDBP Airports - Air Borders.
Within these Regional Directorates, there are 36 Border Police Stations and 37 Border Crossing Points.
Education is provided by the Academy of the Ministry of Interior. There are different types of courses such as:
- Initial police training,
- Better professional qualification,
- Professional specialization,
- Actualization of the professional qualification.
In addition, different training activities on spot are organized such as:
- Specialized training,
- Shooting training,
- Physical training,
- Police self-defence training.
There are training activities s in the framework of European projects organized by the EU External Borders Fund.
Oversight of the GDBP activities is exercised by two Directorates: the Inspectorate Directorate and the Internal Security Directorate. In addition, the Secretary General also has oversight responsibilities.
National Customs Agency
Functions and missions
The National Customs Agency is a centralised administrative structure under the Minister of Finance. Its headquarters comprises three General Administration directorates, nine Specialized Administration directorates, an Inspectorate, an Information Security Unit and an Internal Audit Unit. The overall function of the Agency is customs supervision and control of the customs territory of Bulgaria. The most important directorate with law enforcement functions within the Agency is the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate. This directorate organises, coordinates, manages and monitors all activities relating to:
- customs and currency violations,
- illegal drug and precursor trafficking,
- violations of intellectual property rights,
- administrative sanctions,
- storage and destruction of seized illegal drugs,
- the control of foreign trade in weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.
The directorates-general and the directorates in CCD within their competence shall analyse, prognosticate and offer solutions and measures for uniform application of the EU law and of the national legislation in view of increase in the budget revenue, ensuring safety and security of citizens, protection of the EU financial interests and the national financial interests, protection from unfair and illegal trade and facilitation of legitimate trade.
The directorates-general, the directorates in CCD and the territorial directorates within their competence shall:
- Analyse the data, conditions, factors and mechanisms, defining the successful application of the NCA policy, and recommend measures for its implementation,
- Analyze the information, received in the respective structure, as they formulate risks, define rules and offer solutions aiming at the efficient implementation of the NCA policy.
The directorates-general and the specialised administration directorates in CCD within their competence shall take part in the data and information exchange under the administrative cooperation at national and international level. The directorates-general and the directorates in CCD within their competence shall take part in the creation of business models of the customs administration’s information systems.
Structure and organization
The National Customs Agency is structured in Central Customs Directorate (CCD) and in territorial directorates (TDs):
- Trakiyska TD
- Yugozapadna TD
- Dunavksa TD
- Severna Morska TD
- Yuzhna Morska TD
The CCD administration is organised in 5 general administration directorates, ‘Customs Intelligence and Investigation’ Directorate General, ‘Information Systems and Analytical Activity’ Directorate General and 3 specialised administration directorates, as well as Inspectorate and Internal Audit Unit.
State Agency for National Security
Functions and missions
The State Agency for National Security Act delegates the main function of the Agency – protection of national security. The Act assigns the Agency with the protection of national interests, human rights and freedoms, territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty, democracy and constitutional order in the Republic of Bulgaria.
The Agency operates against the classic intelligence and non-traditional threats and risks, provides high government authorities with information needed for the decision making in the national security sphere. The Agency performs tasks of surveillance, detection, counteraction and prevention of:
- intelligence gathering on behalf of alien forces,
- endangerment of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the State and the unity of the Nation,
- unconstitutional activities,
- use of force, or of items of a generally hazardous nature, to political ends,
- risks and threats to the economic and financial security of the State,
- risks and threats to the environmental security of the State,
- disruption of the proper functioning of the National System for the Protection of Classified Information,
- endangerment of the security of facilities or activities of a strategic nature,
- actions having a disruptive effect on communication and information systems,
- international terrorism and extremism and their financing,
- international trade in weapons, products and technologies of dual-use, manufacture, storage and proliferation of items of a generally hazardous nature,
- actions of groups or persons in support of alien services, terrorist or extremist organizations,
- risks and threats related to the migration,
The State Agency for National Security is in charge of the cryptographic security of classified information and monitoring of the radio frequency spectrum.
State Agency for National Security incorporates within its structure a specialized administrative directorate for financial intelligence. The Financial Intelligence Directorate (FID) collects, stores, investigates, analyzes and discloses financial intelligence under the terms and procedures of the Law on Measures against Money Laundering (LMML) and Law on Measures Against the Financing of Terrorism (LMFT).
The Directorate is a financial intelligence unit of the Republic of Bulgaria under Article 2, paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Decision of the Council of the EU from 17 October 2000. The Directorate holds responsibility for the protection of the shared intelligence on the website of EGMONT GROUP and the security of the site itself. It performs functions of detection and prevention against money laundering and financing of terrorism, as well as with regard to capital flows, corruption, bribery in international trade transactions and confiscation. In the fulfilment of its functions, the Financial Intelligence Directorate closely interacts with the Bulgarian security and public order services and its foreign counterparts.
State Agency for National Security works in close collaboration with FATF and MONEYVAL Committee through a Financial Intelligence Directorate. FATF (Financial Action Task Force) is an organization which sets the standards for money laundering and financing of terrorism prevention. MONEYVAL (Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism) is an organization bearing responsibility for the measures within Europe against money laundering and financing of terrorism.
National Co-ordination and Organizational network for cyber/ICT security (NKOMKS)
NKOMKS represents the core national cyber/ICT security system and is composed of relevant public and private entities that are responsible for operating and managing Bulgaria's cyber/ICT components, assets and segments. NKOMKS sets out interoperability requirements, roles, responsibilities and operational capabilities for the prevention, monitoring of responses and recovery in the face of cyber incidents. NKOMKS performs the functions of a broad co-ordinating network, rather than those of a single command centre. Each member of NKOMKS has to act autonomously and promptly within the framework of their competencies, plans and capabilities. NKOMKS performs the following roles:
- monitoring and creating an up-to-date and comprehensive picture of the national cyberspace, summarizing information, providing status indications to network stakeholders and enabling the seamless operation of the communication and information systems;
- coordinating responses and operational interaction during massive incidents, complex attacks and crises, based on the up-to-date picture of national cyberspace, as well as creating recommendations for necessary preventative actions.
National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSS)
The NCSS is tasked with developing a National Cyber Security Strategy, a Cyber Security Action Plan, and performing other cyber/ICT security-related tasks. The Coordinator’s main duties include:
- guiding the development of NKOMKS through public-private partnerships (PPPs) and ensuring the network's reliability, security and sustainability;
- continuously monitoring and assessing the national status quo of cyber/ICT security, coordinating actions and responses to a cyber incident;
- performing the functions of the Secretary of the Council on Cyber Resilience (SKU) and leading the development, implementation and implementation monitoring of the National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS);
- organizing the establishment and development of a National Cyber Situation Center (NCSC);
- in cases of increased threat (hybrid or cyber), helping to form joint analysis, reaction and recovery teams, as needed;
- co-ordinating the organization of cyber/ICT security/hybrid exercises.
Criminal Justice System
The administration of justice in Bulgaria is based on three instances. The courts are state bodies that administer justice in civil, criminal and administrative cases. The organisation and activities of the Bulgarian courts are governed by the Judicial System Act, which lays down the structure and operating principles of the judicial bodies and governs their interaction with each other and with the legislative and executive bodies.
The Supreme Judicial Council is the highest administrative authority and is responsible for managing the judiciary and ensuring its independence. It determines the composition and organisation of the judiciary and manages its affairs without interfering with the independence of the bodies concerned. The Supreme Judicial Council determines the number of judicial districts and the seats of the district, provincial, administrative and appeal courts on the basis of a proposal by the Minister of Justice and – as regards military courts – in coordination with the Minister of Defence.
The territorial jurisdictions of the district, provincial, administrative, military and appeal courts do not necessarily coincide with the administrative division of the country.
District courts – The district courts are the main courts for examining cases in the first instance. Their decisions are subject to appeal before the relevant provincial court.
Provincial courts – The provincial courts act as courts of first and second instance. As courts of the first instance, they examine a precisely defined category of cases involving significant sums or substantial societal interest. When acting as a second (appellate) instance, they re-examine decisions taken by the district courts.
The courts of appeal consider appeals and objections against first-instance rulings by provincial courts within their territorial jurisdictions.
The Specialised Criminal Court, which has its seat in Sofia, is equivalent to a provincial court. Its jurisdiction is laid down by law. The criminal offences coming under the jurisdiction of the Specialised Criminal Court – essentially those committed by or for organised criminal groups – are exhaustively listed in Article 411а of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Specialised Criminal Court of Appeal considers appeals and objections lodged against decisions handed down by the Specialised Criminal Court.
The Supreme Court of Cassation is the supreme judicial instance in criminal and civil cases. Its jurisdiction covers the entire territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. It exercises supreme judicial review over the proper and uniform application of laws by all courts. It has its seat in Sofia.
The Prosecutor’s Office in the Republic of Bulgaria consists of the Prosecutor General, the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation, Prosecutors' Offices of Appeals, Military Prosecutors' Offices of Appeals, District Prosecutors' Offices, Military District Prosecutors' Offices and Regional Prosecutors' Offices (Article 111, par. 1 from the Judicial System Act).
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria is a legal entity financed by the state budget with a seat in Sofia (Article 114, par. 5 from the Judicial System Act). It is a secondary appropriator of budget credits. The Supreme Judicial Council is the primary appropriator of the budget of the Judiciary (Article 196, par. 5 from the Judicial System Act).
The Prosecutor's Office shall ensure that legality is observed:
- by bringing charges against criminal suspects and supporting the charges in common criminal trials;
- by overseeing the enforcement of penalties and other measures of compulsion;
- by acting for the rescission of all illegitimate acts;
- by taking part in civil and administrative suits whenever required to do so by law.