Capital: Madrid
Population: 46 million
Area: 504,645 km2

National Police (Cuerpo Nacional de Policía)

The National Police is an armed body with civil status, with authority at national level and with a staff 56,061. Its core mandate is to protect the free exercise of rights and freedoms and to guarantee people’s security. Its tasks are based on law enforcement, protection of the public, and crime prevention and investigation.

It has exclusive authority to:

  • issue national identity cards and passports
  • conduct checks on people entering or leaving the country
  • enforce the regulations on aliens
  • enforce the regulations on gambling
  • cooperate with foreign law enforcement agencies
  • conduct checks on private security services. The National Police also collects and processes information on antiterrorist matters at national and international level, and investigates organised criminal involvement in technological and economic offences, illegal immigration networks, and drug-related crimes


Customs Surveillance Directorate (Dirección Adjunta de Vigilancia Aduanera)

  • The Spanish Customs Surveillance Directorate has the following tasks:
  • to disclose, prosecute and repress smuggling activities throughout Spanish territory, territorial waters and air space
  • customs and fiscal control
  • to carry out inspection, investigation and control activities at the request of the Spanish Treasury
  • to select the technical resources and special equipment required to carry out operational activities. This includes vessels, aircraft, electronic surveillance and any other materials required to fulfil its mandate
  • other activities linked to its mandate (money laundering, foreign exchange control, investigation of black economy) in coordination with the competent authorities
  • to provide communication services within the Customs Department.

Civil Guard (Cuerpo de la Guardia Civil)

The Guardia Civil is a military-style law enforcement agency. Under the Spanish Constitution its duty is to protect the free exercise or rights and freedoms and to guarantee the safety of citizens. The Guardia Civil falls under the responsibility of the Ministries of the Interior and Defence (for its military missions). In respect of its customs tasks, it falls under the Treasury and, as a judicial police force, it answers to the courts and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. With more than 70,000 officers and more than 2,600 police stations, the Guardia Civil is deployed throughout Spanish territory and is also responsible for territorial waters. It shares a number of competences with other law enforcement agencies, including public safety and order, criminal investigations, intelligence and counter terrorism, and administrative police tasks, but it has exclusive authority in:

  • weapons and explosives
  • custom duties and smuggling
  • traffic and transport outside the cities
  • custody of the roads, railways, borders, harbours and airports.
  • nature protection
  • inter-urban prisoner transport.