National Police Corps

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National Police Corps
Cuerpo Nacional de Policía
Seal of the National Police Corps of Spain
Seal of the National Police Corps of Spain
Badge of the National Police Corps of Spain
Badge of the National Police Corps of Spain
Flag of the National Police Corps of Spain
Flag of the National Police Corps of Spain
Common namePolicía Nacional
MottoLey y Orden
Law and Order
Agency overview
FormedJanuary 8, 1824 (as General Police of the Kingdom)
December 4, 1978 (formation of current service)
March 13, 1986 (current law)
Preceding agencies
  • Cuerpo Superior de Policía
  • Cuerpo de Policía Nacional
Jurisdictional structure
National agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Operations jurisdictionSpain
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
Governing bodyGovernment of Spain
Constituting instruments
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed byDirectorate-General of the Police
HeadquartersCalle Miguel Ángel, 5, 28039 Madrid, Spain
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • October 2
  • Order of Police Merit

The National Police Corps (Spanish: Cuerpo Nacional de Policía, CNP; [ˈkweɾpo naθjoˈnal de poliˈθi.a]; also known simply as National Police, Policía Nacional)[2] is the national civilian police force of Spain. The CNP is mainly responsible for policing urban areas, whilst rural 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 Corps varies according to the autonomous communities. For example, Ertzaintza in the Basque Country and Mossos d'Esquadra in Catalonia are the primary police agencies. In Navarra they share some duties jointly with Policía Foral (Foruzaingoa).


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 Cuerpo Superior de Policía (Superior Police Corps), but often referred to as the "secret police", formerly the Cuerpo General de Policía (General Police Corps), 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.[3]

The uniformed service, the Cuerpo de Policía Armada (Armed Police Corps) which became the basis of the current National Police in 1978, 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 Corps, 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.[3]

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.[3]

The initial training phase for recruits to the National Police Corps 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 Spanish Army (with some from the Civil Guard). 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 Corps. 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 Superior Police Corps. 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.[3]

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.[3]

The current sidearm is the Heckler & Koch USP Compact 9x19mm


Duties are regulated by the Organic law 2/1986 of March 13, 1986.

  1. The issuing of identity documents - National ID cards and passports.
  2. To control receipts and outgoings of the foreign people and Spaniards.
  3. Immigration law, refuge and asylum, extradition and expulsion.
  4. Gambling enforcement
  5. Drug enforcement
  6. Collaboration with Interpol and Europol.
  7. Control of private security companies
  8. General law enforcement and criminal investigation.

Access and training[edit]


  • Be born or a naturalized Spanish citizen
  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Be at least 1.65 metres (5 ft 5 in) tall, for men, and 1.60 metres (5 ft 3 in) for women
  • Not have been convicted of fraud or dismissed by a local, regional or national government, or prevented from holding public functions.
  • Hold a driving licence of the class specified by the government.

Basic Scale:

  • Have or to be in conditions to obtain the Certificate of Bachillerato or equivalent.

Executive Scale:

  • Have a Technical Engineer, Technical Architect, Qualified University student or equivalent or top formation degree.

Competitive examination[edit]

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
  • Voluntary language test (English or French)
  • Medical examination
  • Interview

Training academy[edit]

Ávila Police Academy

If the applicant has been chosen, they will receive professional training at the police academy in Ávila for nine 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 or French languages and undergo training in crime investigation. Finally, the pupil will receive a policing practice for a year, in which there will be various common situations that will form him as an agent.


Spanish Policia Nacional wordmark (as seen on uniforms and vehicles).

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 - Commissioner
  • Comisario Principal - Principal Commissioner
  • Jefe Superior - Superior Chief
  • Comisario General - Commissioner General, and Jefe de División - Divisional Chief [equal ranks]
  • Subdirector General - Sub-Director General
  • Director Adjunto Operativo - Assistant Director of Operations
  • Director General de la Policía - Director-General of Police

Rank insignia[edit]

Categories Superior Grades Superior Executive Deputy Inspector Basic Student
Badge of the National Police Corps of Spain.svg
Bandera de España
Director Adjunto Operativo (DAO) Subdirector General Comisario General/Jefe de División Jefe Superior Comisario Principal Comisario Inspector Jefe Inspector Subinspector Oficial de Policía Policía Inspector Alumno en Prácticas Inspector Alumno de 2º año Inspector Alumno de 1º año Policía en Prácticas Policía Alumno

Rank insignia 1986–2014[edit]

Categories Superior Grades Superior Executive Deputy Inspector Basic Student
Badge of the National Police Corps of Spain.svg
Bandera de España
DAO/Subdirector General Comisario General/Jefe de División Jefe Superior Comisario Principal Comisario Inspector Jefe Inspector Subinspector Oficial de Policía Policía Inspector Alumno de 2º año Inspector Alumno de 1º año Policía en Prácticas
Superior Executive Deputy Inspector Basic


CNP Uniforms
Cnpuniform1.png Uprpoli3.png Uipuniform3.png Uniformegoes.png Cnpuniform4.png Uniformetedax.png Cnpuniformwikix.png Uniformgalacnp.png Uniformfemalecnp.png
Service uniform


riot police


riot police


Tactical unit


Tactical unit


Bomb disposal


Dress uniform Dress uniform Dress uniform (female)
CNP Uniforms 1989–2009
Cnpuniformwikia.png Uniformcnpcomi.png Cnpuniformwikiu.png Cnpuniform3.png Uniformegoes1990.png
Service uniform Service uniform UIP/UPR UIP 2000–2014 GOES 1990–1995

Specialist units[edit]

There are numerous specialist units within the CNP:

  • GOES (Grupos Operativos Especiales de Seguridad) - police tactical units.
  • GEO (Grupo Especial de Operaciones) - elite police tactical unit, equivalent to GSG-9 or FBI HRT.
  • TEDAX-NRBQ (Servicio 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.
  • UPR (Unidad de Prevención y Reacción) - 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) - Computer crime unit.
  • UDEF (Unidad de Delincuencia Económica y Fiscal) - Financial crimes.
  • UEGC (Unidad Especial de 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.
  • SMA (Servicios de Medios Aéreos).
  • USPA (Unidad de Subsuelo y Protección Ambiental).
  • GOIT (Grupo Operativo de Intervenciones Técnicas).
  • GOR (Grupo Operativo de Respuesta).
  • Unidad Canina - Canine unit


See also[edit]


  1. ^ López-Fonseca, Óscar (2020-03-07). "Interior aumenta en 3.800 el número de policías y guardias civiles en dos años". EL PAÍS (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  2. ^ Ley Orgánica 9/2015, de 28 de julio, de Régimen de Personal de la Policía Nacional
  3. ^ a b c d e

External links[edit]