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Differences in the roles of the Spanish Police

Guardia Civil (Civil Guard)

The remit of the Guardia Civil is to police rural areas and towns generally under 20,000 people. They also police Spain’s highways and are often seen on motorways and other roads doing speed and document checks, enforcing traffic violations and supervising traffic accidents. If you suffer a crime or need police help in a rural area of Spain it is the Guardia Civil who will attend.

El Cuerpo Nacional de Policia (The National Police)

The Policia Nacional are responsible for Border Security and issue Residencia Certificates for anyone wanting to become a resident in Spain and the essential National-registry Identification number (NIE). If you suffer a crime or need help in an urban area (population usually over 20,000), it is the Policia Nacional who will respond. Their duties also include the security of the Spanish Royal Family and major Government figures.

Policia Local (Local Police)

Sometimes known as the Policia Municipal, this is the force that really deal with only minor matters such as parking, local traffic control and bylaw issues. Spain has no real equivalent to the bobby on the beat. They have no police powers but can support higher level police officers. Crimes are not investigated by the Policia Local and any serious matter is immediately handed over to either the Guardia Civil or Policia Nacional.

With thanks to latorreinfo

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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