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National Police Corps
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|National Police Force
Cuerpo Nacional de Policía
|Common name||Policía Nacional|
Seal of the National Police Corps of Spain
Badge of the National Police Corps of Spain
Flag of the National Police Corps of Spain
|Motto||Ley y Orden
Law and Order
|Formed||March 13, 1986|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Legal jurisdiction||As per operations jurisdiction.|
|Governing body||Government of Spain|
|Overviewed by||Directorate-General of the Police and the Civil Guard|
|Headquarters||Calle Miguel Ángel, 5, 28039 Madrid, Spain|
|Minister responsible||Jorge Fernández Díaz, Minister of the Interior|
|Agency executive||Ignacio Cosidó, Director-General|
The National Police Corps (Spanish: Cuerpo Nacional de Policía, CNP; [ˈkwerpo naθjoˈnal de poliˈθi.a]) is the national civilian police force of Spain. The CNP is mainly responsible for policing urban areas, whilst countryside policing is generally the responsibility of the Civil Guard, the Spanish gendarmerie. The CNP operates under the authority of Spain’s Ministry of the Interior. They mostly handle criminal investigation, judicial, terrorism and immigration matters. The powers of the National Police Force varies according to the autonomous communities, Ertzaintza in the Basque Country, Mossos d’Esquadra in Catalonia, and Policía Foral (Foruzaingoa) in Navarre are the primary police agencies while BESCAM in the Madrid region is more of a resources provider. In Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Galicia, and Valencia the National Police units are functionally acting directly under the orders of the Autonomous Communities to which they are attached.
The 1986 organic law unifying the separate uniformed and plainclothes branches of the national police was a major reform that required a considerable period of time to be brought into full effect. The former plainclothes service, known as the Superior de Policía (Higher Police Force), but often referred to as the “secret police” (former the General Police Service), consisted of some 9,000 officers. Prior to 1986, it had a supervisory and coordinating role in police operations, conducted domestic surveillance, collected intelligence, investigated major crimes, issued identity documents, and carried out liaison with foreign police forces.
The uniformed service, the old Armed Police which became the National Police in 1979, was a completely separate organization with a complement of about 50,000 officers, including a small number of female recruits who were first accepted for training in 1984. The Director General of the National Police Force, a senior official of the Ministry of Interior, commanded 13 regional headquarters, 50 provincial offices, and about 190 municipal police stations. In the nine largest cities, several district police stations served separate sections of the city. The chief of police of each station was in command of both the uniformed and the plainclothes officers attached to the station. A centrally controlled Special Operations Group (Grupo Especial de Operaciones—GEO) was an elite fighting unit trained to deal with terrorist and hostage situations.
The principal weapons regularly used by the uniformed police were 9mm pistols, 9mm submachine guns, CETME and NATO 7.62mm rifles, and various forms of riot equipment. Their original uniform consisted of light brown trousers and dark brown jackets.
The initial training phase for recruits to the National Police Force was nine months, followed by a year of practical training. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, and sergeant major were based on seniority, additional training, and performance. In the Franco era, most police officers were seconded from the army. Under a 1978 law, future police officers were to receive separate training, and army officers detailed to the police were to be permanently transferred. By 1986 only 170 army officers remained in the National Police Force. Under the 1986 organic law, military-type training for police was to be terminated, and all candidate officers were to attend the Higher Police School at Ávila, which previously had served as the three-year training center for the Higher Police Force. The ranks of the plainclothes corps—commissioners, subcommissioners, and inspectors of first, second, and third class—were to be assimilated into the ranking system of the uniformed police—colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, captain, and lieutenant. Two lower categories—subinspection and basic—would include all nonofficer uniformed personnel. The newly unified National Police Corps was to be responsible for issuing identity cards and passports, as well as for immigration and deportation controls, refugees, extradition, deportation, gambling controls, drugs, and supervision of private security forces.
Franco’s Policía Armada had once been dreaded as one of the most familiar symbols of the regime’s oppressiveness. During the 1980s, however, the police underwent an internal transformation process, being brought to adopt the new democratic spirit of the times. The police supported the legally constituted government during the 1981 coup attempt. Led by the new police trade union, the police demonstrated in 1985 against right-wing militants in their ranks and cooperated in efforts to punish misconduct and abuses of civil rights by individual officers.
Duties are regulated by the Organic law 2/1986 of March 13, 1986.
- The issuing of identity documents – ID cards and passports.
- To control receipts and outgoings of the foreign people and Spaniards.
- Immigration law, refuge and asylum, extradition and expulsion.
- Gambling enforcement
- Drug enforcement
- Collaboration with Interpol and Europol.
- Control of private security companies
- General law enforcement and criminal investigation.
Access and training
- Born or naturalized Spanish
- More than 18 years old.
- At least 1.65 metres (5 ft 5 in) tall, for men, and 1.60 metres (5 ft 3 in) metres for women
- Not to have been convicted of fraud or dismissed by the state, autonomous or local governments, or prevented from holding public functions.
- Hold a driving licence of the class specified by the government.
- Have or to be in conditions to obtain the Certificate of Bachillerato or equivalent.
- Have a Technical Engineer, Technical Architect, Qualified University student or equivalent or top formation degree.
The applicant can choose between a Basic Scale career or an Executive Scale career. Applicants must pass the following basic tests before starting the academy:
- Physical test
- Multiple-choice exam
- Aptitude test
- Volunteer language test (English or French)
- Medical examination
If the applicant has been chosen, they will receive professional training in Ávila‘s police academy for six months. Whilst trainees reside at the academy, they learn about Spanish law, receive firearms and self-defense training, conduct practical application exercises, learn the basics of the English language and undergo training in crime investigation. After that, the applicant will have the aula práctica, that mixes theoretical knowledge with practical situations for three months. Finally, the pupil will receive a policing practice, in which there will be various common situations that will form him as an agent.
From 1979 to 1986 the Police sported a military rank system, a holdover of the old Armed Police.
Above the cadet ranks (there are five cadet ranks), the current ranks are:
- Policía – Policeman/policewoman
- Oficial de Policía – Police Officer
- Subinspector – Sub-inspector
- Inspector – Inspector
- Inspector Jefe – Chief Inspector
- Comisario – Commissary
- Comisario Principal – Senior Commissary
- Jefe Superior – Superior Chief
- Comisario General – Commissary General, and Jefe de División – Divisional Chief [equal ranks]
- Subdirector General – Sub-director General
- Director Adjunto Operativo – Operational Deputy Director
- Director General de la Policía – Director General of Police
|Categories||Superior Grades||Superior||Executive||Deputy Inspector||Basic||Student|
|Director AdjuntoOperativo (DAO)||SubdirectorGeneral||Comisario General/Jefe de División||JefeSuperior||ComisarioPrincipal||Comisario||InspectorJefe||Inspector||Subinspector||Oficialde Policía||Policía||Inspector Alumnoen Prácticas||Inspector Alumnode 2º año||Inspector Alumnode 1º año||Policíaen Prácticas||PolicíaAlumno|
Rank insignia 1986-2014
|Categories||Superior Grades||Superior||Executive||Deputy Inspector||Basic||Student|
|DAO/Subdirector General||Comisario General/Jefe de División||JefeSuperior||ComisarioPrincipal||Comisario||InspectorJefe||Inspector||Subinspector||Oficialde Policía||Policía||Inspector Alumnode 2º año||Inspector Alumnode 1º año||Policíaen Prácticas|
|Service uniformSC||riot policeUPR||riot policeUIP||Special operationsGOES||Special operationsGEO||Bomb disposalTEDAX||Dress uniform||Dress uniform||Dress uniform (female)|
|CNP Uniforms 1989–2009|
|Service uniform||Service uniform||UIP/UPR||UIP 2000–2014||GOES 1990–1995|
There are numerous specialist units:
- GEO (Grupo Especial de Operaciones) – Special operations tactical unit, equivalent to GSG-9 or FBI HRT.
- GOES (Grupos Operativos Especiales de Seguridad) – Equivalent to SWAT units.
- SCDE-NRBQ (Servicio Central de Desactivación de Explosivos y Nuclear, Radiológico, Bacteriológico y Químico) – Explosive artifacts defuser and CRBN (Chemical, Radiological, Biological, and Nuclear) specialised team.
- UIP (Unidad de Intervención Policial) – Anti-riot unit.
- UDYCO (Unidad de Drogas Y Crimen Organizado) – Drugs and organised crime investigation squad.
- UDEV (Unidad de Delincuencia Especializada y Violenta) – Investigation and pursuit several kinds of crimes related to artistic and cultural heritage, families.
- BIT (Brigada de Investigación Tecnológica) – Computing crimes investigation.
- UCDEF (Unidad Central de Delincuencia Económica y Fiscal) – Monetary crimes.
- Guías Caninos – Canine unit. Drug, explosives and people detection.
- CGPJ (General Commissariat of Judiciary Police) – intelligence unit.
- CGI (General Commissariat of Information) – intelligence and anti-terrorism unit.
An earlier uniform was brown, leading to the nickname la madera or los maderos (“the wood”/”the logs”). They are also called la pasma. Among supporters of the violent Basque terrorist organization ETA, Policía Nacional are colloquially referred to as txakurrak (Basque for “the dogs”).
- “Jorge Fernández Díaz, Ministro del Interior” [Jorge Fernández Díaz Interior Minister] (in Spanish). Spanish Interior Ministry. 2012-03-17.
- “El Director General ante los mandos policialesCivil” [General Direction with the Police Command] (in Spanish). Spanish Police. 2012-01-03.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.
- Official website
- Spanish police forces forum The most complete forum about different Spanish police forces.
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