In Spanish towns and cities, the Policia Municipal (Municipal Police), also known as the Policia Local or Guardia Urbana, is a police force organized at the municipal level.
Municipal police are authorized in every town and city of 5,000 or more people. The Policía Municipal de Madrid is the largest force and the Guàrdia Urbana de Barcelona is the second largest. In towns and villages that are too small to organize a municipal force, the function is performed by the Guardia Civil or by the Autonomous Community force. They are in some villages assisted by uniformed municipal employees with limited law enforcement authority called Vigilantes Municipales. Although their powers are, in most cases, quite limited. The local police services of individual towns and cities supplement the work of the National Police Corps, dealing with such matters as traffic, parking, monitoring public demonstrations, guarding municipal buildings, and enforcing local ordinances. They also collaborate with the National Police Corps by providing personnel to assist in crowd control.
Numbering about 37,000 individuals in 1986, municipal police officers are generally armed only with pistols.