Law enforcement by country

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In many countries, particularly those with a federal system of government, there may be several police or police-like organizations, each serving different levels of government and enforcing different subsets of the applicable law.

List by country[edit]


In Argentina the most important law enforcement organisation is the Policia Federal Argentina (with a jurisdiction and organization similar to the FBI in the USA) with jurisdiction in all Argentine territories. Argentina is a Federal Republic divided into 23 provinces and one federal district, and as a result the provincial police (equivalent to state police in the United States) carries out most routine police work, except in the capital city of Buenos Aires (the federal district), where the Policia Federal Argentina assumes the role of the local police.


The majority of policing work is carried out by the police forces of the six states that make up the Australian federation, such as the New South Wales Police Force, the Victoria Police or the Tasmania Police. The Australian Federal Police are responsible for policing duties in the Australian Capital Territory, and investigating crimes relating to federal criminal law (particularly crimes with an international dimension) nationwide.


The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is the main agency tasked with maintaining local law and order in the country of Barbados. The police force may in times of need call upon the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and/or Regional Security System for additional support.


Main article: Belgian police

The majority of policing work is carried out by the local police forces. The Federal Police are responsible for policing and investigating crimes relating to federal criminal law (particularly crimes with an international dimension) nationwide.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Main article: Bosnian Police

The Bosnian Police consists of two different Police entities, the Federation and the Republika Srpska Police, Bosnia also has its Counter Terrorism Agency SIPA.


There are three federal police services: the Brazilian Federal Police, the Brazilian Federal Highway Police and the Brazilian Federal Railroad Police. Each state has Military Police/Polícia Militar and Civil Police/Polícia Civil. Despite their names, the Military Police are public order police, and the Civil Police investigative police. Lastly, more than 400 cities have Municipal Guards. The armed forces have their own provost services.



The National Police of Cambodia (Nokorbal Chéat) is Cambodia's police force which is under the Ministry of Interior



Main article: Policing in Canada

In Canada, all criminal law (including the Criminal Code of Canada) falls under federal jurisdiction, but policing is a provincial responsibility. However, there is a national police force known by either its official English name RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) or its equally official French name GRC (Gendarmerie Royale du Canada). The RCMP/GRC is tasked with enforcing certain federal laws throughout the country, as well as anti-terrorism duties.[1] They also perform domestic counter-espionage with the assistance of CSIS.[2] Additionally, eight of the ten provinces choose to employ the RCMP/GRC under contract as their provincial police force rather than establishing their own police services; the exceptions are Ontario (Ontario Provincial Police) and Québec (Sûreté du Québec). Newfoundland has retained the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for limited use, but still uses the RCMP/GRC for the majority of its provincial policing. In most provinces individual towns and cities are allowed, or required, by law to set up their own local police forces to provide policing inside their communities. Those municipalities (approx. 300 in total) which do not have their own police forces will contract instead either the RCMP/GRC (with the federal government absorbing some of the cost) or their provincial force to police the community.

China (People's Republic of China)[edit]

In China, civilian police is mainly done by the People's Police, also known as the Public Security Bureau or PSB (Chinese: 公安局 Gonganju), although the paramilitary police, the People's Armed Police, is still prominent. The People's Police is in the administration is Ministry of Public Security, and the People's Armed Police is under the joint administration of China's People's Liberation Army and the Ministry of Public Security.

Czech Republic[edit]

The main law enforcement agency in the Czech Republic is the Policie ČR, charged with making arrests, investigating crimes, ensuring road and highway security, and other standard policing tasks. Directed by the Policejní prezident, who holds a rank of colonel or general, Policie officers hold ranks similar to those of the military. At the municipal level, city police (Městská policie) are funded and directed locally. Sizes of local forces vary and officers have only limited law-enforcement powers, such as traffic enforcement; they cannot make arrests and must call on the national police to handle serious problems.


The main law enforcement agency is the Police of Denmark (da: Politiet), under the Danish Ministry of Justice, including 12 common police districts, the state nationwide police force Rigspolitiet, the national intelligence service Politiets Efterretningstjeneste and the special tactical forces Politiets Aktionsstyrke. Further more a Danish military police branch (da: Militærpolitiet) and Danish home guard unit Politihjemmeværnet exists.


Main article: Estonian Police

Law enforcement in Estonia is carried out by sections of the Estonian Police.


A Finnish police van.

Law enforcement in Finland is under the jurisdiction of the Finnish Police. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) (Finnish: Keskusrikospoliisi, KRP) is a national unit tasked with "crime prevention and provision of expert services."



Germany is a federal republic of sixteen Länder or States. Each one of those States has its own police force called Landespolizei. Each Landespolizei is supervised by the respective State Minister (or, in the City States of Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin, the Senator) of Internal Affairs. The German constitution gives to the Länder the clear priority in matters of law enforcement and crime fighting.

The Federal authorities have two law enforcement agencies:

  • the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, "Federal Crime (or Criminology) Office") which is only responsible for cases which are exceeding the borders of a single State, or for cases of international dimension.
  • the uniformed Bundespolizei (BPOL, in casual language also BuPo; "Federal Police"). Until 2005, the BPOL was called Bundesgrenzschutz ("Federal Border Protection"), but after expanded competences (e.g. for the railways) in the 1990s and the abolition of border controls in the European Union, its name was changed to emphasize the law enforcement (=police) nature of the corps in an international context.


Main article: Greek Police

The Greek Police Force (Greek: αστυνομία; [astinoˈmia]) is the police force of the Hellenic Republic. Tourism Police are an integral part of the Hellenic Police (ELAS), consisting of men and women specially trained and competent to offer tourists information and help, whenever they have any problems. They are trained in resolving minor differences between tourists and commercial enterprises. They all speak foreign languages, including English. They are distinguished by a shoulder badge displaying Tourism Police on their uniforms.

Hong Kong, China[edit]

The Hong Kong Police Force (Chinese: 香港警務處) operate under local legislations and Hong Kong Basic Law and within the traditional constabulary concept of preserving life and property, preventing and detecting crime and keeping the peace. For times of emergency the force has a paramilitary capability. The Commissioner of Police reports to the Secretary for Security, who is responsible for all disciplined services in Hong Kong.



The Icelandic Police (Lögreglan) is Iceland's police force which is under the Ministry of the Interior. The National Commissioner is the overall commander, but he answers to the minister. The police is divided into 9 districts. Iceland also has a Directorate of Customs (Tollgæslan), whose job is to watch and guard imports and exports and more, which is under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. Icelandic police constables generally do not carry firearms, instead they carry telescopic batons and pepper spray. The National Commissioner has a Special operations unit which is called the Viking Squad (Víkingasveitin).


India has numerous law enforcement agencies. At the federal Union level, the agencies are part of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, and support the states in their duties.

Since the federal nature of the Constitution of India mandates law and order as a subject of the state, therefore the bulk of the police lies with respective States and union territories. Bigger cities also operate metropolitan police, also under the state. All senior police officers in the police as well as in the federal agencies are members of the Indian Police Service.


Indonesian national police is also known as Polri or Polisi Negara Republik Indonesia. Its organization divided into provincial police, city or district police and sub-district police with centralized line of command. Brimob (Brigade Mobil or the mobile brigade) is a specialized force which was heavily armed and function as a security stabilization force at emergency situation, riot control and VIP or vital facilities security. Gegana is a branch of Brimob with special duties of anti-terrorist operation and dangerous material or explosive ordnance disposal.

International Police[edit]

The International Police is a functional organization made up of police officers from all over the world, serving mostly under the direction of the United Nations, to help train, recruit, and field police forces in war torn countries. The force is usually deployed into a war torn country initially acting as the police, and bringing order. In the process, they recruit and train a local police force, which eventually takes on the responsibilities of enforcing the law and maintaining order, whereas the International Police then take on a supporting role. To date, International Police forces have been deployed to East Timor, Haiti, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Liberia, Croatia, and Macedonia, among others.


Traffic Police of Iran


Main article: Garda Síochána

The Irish Police force, an Garda Síochána na hÉireann, translates to "Guardians of the Peace of Ireland". The state has one nationwide police force. All routinely uniformed officers are unarmed. The strength of the Garda Síochána is approximately 12,000 officers, of which 3,000 are licensed to carry firearms.

The Garda Síochána operates a number of specialist units including the GASU (Garda Air Support Unit, consisting of two helicopters and a BN-2A aircraft operated by the Irish Air Corps from Casement Aerodrome), Mounted Unit, Dog Unit, Public Order Unit and the anti-terrorism Special Detective Unit. It has a central command and control system for major city areas. Uniformed Gardaí wear stab-proof body armour and carry expandable ASP batons, handcuffs and pepper spray all introduced by the new Garda Inspectorate.

Armed support units include the Regional Support Units (RSU) and the national Emergency Response Unit (ERU), which is comparable to American SWAT or British CO19 and operates a variety of lethal and non-lethal devices. All Gardaí (Police Officers) who train as detectives carry a sidearm.


Main article: Israel Police

The Israeli Police (Mishteret Yisra'el) is the police force for the State of Israel. It is headed by the commissioner Rav-Nitzav Dudi Cohen and falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Security. The Israeli Police has a military corps called the Border Guard (MAGAV), which has its own elite counter-terrorist units, as well as the Civil Guard ("Mishmar Ezrahi") made up of volunteers.


Law enforcement in Italy is carried out by different agencies. On a national level, five police forces operate. The Arma dei Carabinieri (gendarmerie), the Polizia di Stato (national police) and the Guardia di Finanza (customs police, border police and financial police); are the main forces. There are also the Corpo Forestale dello Stato (forestry police); Polizia Penitenziaria (prison service).

There are also Polizia Provinciale in all of the 109 provinces of Italy, and Polizia Municipale in every comune.

The Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza are organized as a military force. In recent years, Carabinieri units have been dispatched all over the world in peacekeeping missions, including Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.


The Grand Ducal Police (French: Police Grand-Ducale; Luxembourgish: Groussherzoglech Police or simply d'Police) is since 1January 2000 the sole law enforcement agency in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Police is under the authority of the Luxem-bourgish Minister for Public Security, although it operates in the name, and under the ultimate (ceremonial) control of the head of state, HRH the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Previously, the Luxembourgish law enforcement agencies (aswell as the Army) were under the command of the Minister of Public Force, a cabinet post which no longer exists.

The Grand Ducal Police was created in its current form on 1 January 2000, when the Grand Ducal Gendarmerie merged with the State-controlled local police forces.

The Grand Ducal Police is responsible for ensuring Luxembourg's internal security, fighting crime and corruption, maintaining law and order and enforcing all laws and Grand Ducal decrees. It is also responsible for assisting the Luxembourgish Army in its internal (war-time) operations, in accordance with the respective legislation and under the authority of the national Commander-in-Chief, HRH the Grand Duke.

Municipal regulations are enforced by "Municipal agents" (French: Agents municipaux; Luxembourgish: Gemengenagenten), who are partly uniformed but always unarmed municipal employees (no police officers) with strictly limited enforcement powers.


Lithuanian police officers with their Audi A6 Quattro in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Law enforcement in Lithuania is the responsibility of a "unified national police force under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry."[1] From the Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is led by the Police Commissar General, the police force branches out to the National and Municipal Police.

The National Police is composed of the criminal police, traffic police, public security force and public police.


Toyota Crown police car in Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Police in Japan are an apolitical body under the general supervision of an independent agency, the National Police Agency, and free of direct central government executive control. They are checked by an independent judiciary and monitored by a free and active press. The police are generally well respected and can rely on considerable public cooperation in their work.

Republic of Korea[edit]

The National Police Agency, or NPA, is the only police organization in South Korea and is run under the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. As a national police force it provides all policing services throughout the country. This differs from the situation in many countries including France, where policing is split between the National Police and Gendarmerie, and between countries such as the United States which have a layered system of National, State/Regional and/or local Law Enforcement organizations.

The NPA is headquartered in Seoul and is divided into 14 local police agencies, including the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. Local police agencies are not independent of the national police. There were 96,000 police officers as of 2004.


Police Mobile Patrol Vehicle (MPV) officers during the patrolling and inspections of VIP property. The MPV is tasked by the Royal Malaysian Police force to prevent crime in Malaysia.

The Royal Malaysian Police or Polis Diraja Malaysia in Malay is a main branch of security forces in Malaysia. Established on 25 March 1807, the force is a centralized organization that has a gamut of roles that ranges from traffic control to intelligence. Its headquarters is located in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur and divided into 14 state police, including two on East Malaysia consist of Sabah State Police and Sarawak State Police. During the emergency period, the force is a major security forces to track down the communists.

The force has seven departments, which consist of 2 tasked on police management and logistic with 5 tasked for multi-crimes prevented, intelligence and security service. The riot control force known as Federal Reserve Unit makes up part of the police force.

In addition to the Federal Reserve Unit, the Police maintains 2 paramilitary divisions: the General Operations Forces, which includes the Senoi Praaq which grew out of the Emergency Jungle Squads, and the special force: the Pasukan Gerakan Khas (Special Operations Force), which includes the VAT 69 Police Commandos and UTK. VAT 69 commando battalion is the special force based on by SAS for fight against the communist threats and the Special Action Units (Malay: Unit Tindakan Khas), which is modelled on SWAT teams for dangerous crimes prevented and close protections. Besides, the force also created the maritime police special forces known as Police Combat Diving Unit or Unit Selam Tempur, who tasked the security of Straits of Malacca, Sulu Sea and South China Sea from the piracy activities and terrorism.

The Rakan Cop is the Malaysian community police which was launched in 2006.



Most police forces in Mexico can be classified into two general types based on their primary function. They tend to operate as policia judicial (judicial police) or policia preventiva (preventive police). The basic difference being that the policia judicial are usually under the administration of the judicial branch of government (i.e., judges, attorneys general, etc.), whereas the policia preventiva tend to be administered by legislative or executive branches of government (i.e., mayors, or city councils). Historically, the judicial police would investigate crimes that have already occurred, and preventive police would focus their efforts on preventing crimes (by active presence on the streets and random patrols). In recent decades these differences have been blurred considerably.

Mexican law enforcement agencies, vary from state to state but usually have the hierarchy mentioned below:


The Moroccan police is called Sûreté Nationale. It is tasked with upholding the law and public order. It works alongside the Gendarmerie Royale.


The Dutch national police is a government agency charged with upholding the law and public order and providing aid. It is also the investigation service for the Attorney General of the Judiciary. Police duties at airports are provided by the KMAR (Royal Gendarmerie)

New Zealand[edit]

The New Zealand Police are charged with enforcing law in New Zealand. They are a single national police force with a broad policing role (community safety, law enforcement & road safety). New Zealand police officers do not normally carry firearms, although access to firearms is available when circumstances dictate. Specialised units of the New Zealand Police such as the Armed Offenders Squad, a SWAT type unit and the Special Tactics Group are also operational for different scenarios that might arise. New Zealand Police works with other government agencies and non-government groups to achieve the best safety outcomes for all New Zealanders.



The police in Nigeria is called the Nigerian Police Force. It is under the control of the federal government - there is no state controlled police in Nigeria. It is tasked with upholding the law and public order.


The Norwegian national police force (Norwegian: Politiet) is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice and Police. The Politiet is divided into 27 regional police departments and seven nation-wide special departments. In total the force has about 11,000 employees, with the Oslo police precinct, as the largest, accounting for 2,300.

Officers of Politiet usually do not carry firearms, making the force one of the few unarmed police organizations in the world. They are instead armed with telescopic batons and pepper spray.[citation needed]


The police in Pakistan are under the control of the province they work in with a separate traffic police department for managing traffic. Only capital city police are an exception, and is under federal government control with its own setup. In Punjab a counter terror unit eliteforce was created in 1998. A separate paramilitary organization known as the Rangers exist for providing security in the country and to assist the police whenever needed and are also under the control of the province they work in.


The national police force in Peru is called Policía Nacional del Perú or PNP (official site, in Spanish). They are the state police force, but serve many of the same roles in the cities that local police forces assume in other countries, such as traffic control at intersections. Peruvian cities (or Lima-area districts) each have their own Serenazgo forces, which perform patrol duties like a neighborhood watch and call upon the PNP as needed.


Law enforcement in the Philippines is handled nationally by two agencies: the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Community policing is done by un-armed Barangay Polices who are hired and supervised by their local barangays, the smallest elected government in the Philippines. Barangay Police are often described as volunteers but they do receive in some places small stipends and benefits such as health care. They have some limited training.


Law enforcement agencies


There are three main police forces in Portugal:

  1. Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP – Public Security Police) – a civil uniformed police, responsible mainly for the policing in the large urban areas;
  2. Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR – Republican National Guard) – a gendarmerie type force, that works mainly in the countryside and small towns;
  3. Polícia Judiciária (PJ – Judiciary Police) – responsible for the major criminal investigations.

There are also other smaller specialized police services, like the Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica (ASAE – Food and Economic Safety Authority), the Polícia Marítima (Maritime Police), the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF – Foreign and Border Service) and the polícias municipais (municipal polices).


Main article: Romanian Police


Russian Police Car in Tver. 2011

The police in Russia are called полиция (Politsiya). The Police is operating under MVD, and currently the police is under wide reform.

Until 2011 the police was called милиция (Militsiya). This change of name started at the Russian Revolution via a Communist political idea of "replacing the capitalist police by a people's militia"; but the name "militsiya" has persisted after the Communist system collapsed.

The standard Russian police baton is made of rubber. In some areas however wooden batons are used because the winter cold makes rubber brittle. The normal service uniform is grey with red piping and hat band. Fur hats and heavy greatcoats are worn in winter.



Police National Service officers help boost manpower requirements in the Singapore Police Force

The Singapore Police Force (Abbreviation: SPF) is the main agency tasked with maintaining law and order in the city-state. Formerly known as the Republic of Singapore Police.


Law enforcement in Slovenia is the responsibility of the Slovenian National Police force, which is composed of 11 police directorates.

South Africa[edit]

The South African Police Service is responsible for providing policing services to the public of South Africa at 1115 police stations, divided across nine provinces.


Policing in Spain is carried out by a combination of national, regional and local bodies.

Sri Lanka[edit]

The national police service in Sri Lanka is Sri Lanka Police. The elite Police Counter-Terrorist force the Special Task Force has taken security duties around the island.


The police in Sweden (in Swedish: Polisen) is a national police force under the Ministry of Justice. It is divided into the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) and 21 regional police departments corresponding to the Counties of Sweden. The National Police Board is divided into the National Criminal Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen) and SÄPO, or Säkerhetspolisen, the Swedish Security Service.

The police officers are always armed with a 9 mm Sig Sauer handgun, a telescopic baton and a can of pepper spray.


The police in Switzerland is mainly the responsibility of the 26 cantons, although both federal and local police forces also exist.

Taiwan (Republic of China)[edit]

The Taiwanese police is a national police force. It has an elite Special Forces unit known as the Thunder Squad. It is trained for dealing with dangerous and high-risk missions, as well as counter-terrorism due to the potential military threat from the People's Republic of China.


Main article: Royal Thai Police

The Royal Thai Police are subdivided into several regions and services, each enjoying their own powers.

  • Crime Suppression Division, Thai FBI
  • Immigration
  • Traffic police


Law enforcement is Turkey is carried out by five separate bodies. The Turkish National Police (Turkish: Polis) is the civilian police, under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Gendarmerie (Turkish: Jandarma) is a branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible only for policing the civilian population. Provost services are provided by the Military Police (Turkish: Askeri inzibat). The Turkish Coast Guard (Turkish: Sahil Güvenlik Komutanlığı) is also branch of the Armed Forces, responsible for search and rescue and maritime border protection. The National Intelligence Organization (Turkish: Millî İstihbarat Teşkilâtı) is responsible for internal security. Some limited local law enforcement is carried out by village guards.


The police force in Vietnam is called the People's Police. It answers to the Ministry of Public Security.

United Kingdom[edit]

Mounted UK police officer.

Widely regarded as the home of the first modern police force, law enforcement is now organised separately in each of the legal systems of the United Kingdom as a result of devolution of powers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and, to a lesser extent, London. The long-standing philosophy of British policing is known as policing by consent.

England and Wales have 43 local police forces (formerly known as constabularies), each of which covers a 'police area' (a particular county, grouping of counties or metropolitan area). Since 2012, 41 of these forces have their own directly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The 2 exceptions are in London, where the Metropolitan Police is accountable to the directly elected Mayor via the Office for Policing and Crime, and the much smaller City of London Police that retains the Common Council of the City as its police authority.

Scotland now has a single national force - the Police Service of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Seirbheis Phoilis na h-Alba), commonly known as Police Scotland. It replaced eight former territorial police forces and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency in April 2013 and is overseen by the Scottish Police Authority, under the terms of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Irish: Seirbhís Póilíneachta Thuaisceart Éireann, Ulster Scots: Polis Servis o Norlin Airlan) serves Northern Ireland, succeeding the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 2001. Following the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, the PSNI is supervised by the Northern Ireland Policing Board (Irish: Bord Póilíneachta Thuaisceart Éireann, Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlan Polisin Boord), who are themselves appointed since 2007 by the Minister of Justice (Northern Ireland) using the Nolan principles for public appointments.

From October 2013 the National Crime Agency (NCA) operates as the United Kingdom's first national law enforcement agency. Replacing the existing Serious Organised Crime Agency and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, as well as assuming some of the responsibilities of the UK Border Agency, but not counter-terrorism, for the first time it will have authority for "tasking and coordination" investigative work to local forces under the Crime and Courts Act 2013.[3]

There are also three special police forces that have a specific, non-regional jurisdiction – the British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence Police. Over the centuries there has been a wide variation in the number of police forces operating within the UK, most of which now no longer exist, see List of former police forces in the United Kingdom for these. A few miscellaneous constabularies with responsibility mostly founded on old legislation to police specific local areas, such as ports and parks, have escaped police reform. Lastly, a number of government bodies that are not police forces have detective powers and enforce laws, such as the Marine and Fisheries Agency and UK Border Agency, who employ officers with limited powers of detention and search but generally cannot make full arrests.

The majority of British police are never routinely armed, relying on an extendable baton and in some cases Tasers, with specialist armed units called in when necessary. The exceptions are the Ministry of Defence Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Uniquely in Britain, there are police forces of Crown Dependencies such as the Isle of Man and States of Jersey & Guernsey, who have police forces that share resources with the UK police, whilst having a separate administration within their own governments. The British Overseas Territories, have their own police forces which are generally based on that of the UK.

United States[edit]

In the United States, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and other federal agencies such as the United States Secret Service, US Marshals, United States Park Police, United States Capitol Police, and the United States Pentagon Police are limited to the enforcement of federal laws and usually specialize in certain crimes or duties, but do enforce some state laws. Most crimes constitutionally fall under the jurisdiction of state police or the thousands of local police forces. These include county police or sheriff's departments as well as municipal or city police forces. Many areas also have special agencies such as campus police, railroad police, housing police, or a district or precinct constable.

See also[edit]