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National Republican Guard (Portugal)

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Republican National Guard
Guarda Nacional Republicana
Coat of arms of the Guarda Nacional Republicana
Coat of arms of the Guarda Nacional Republicana
MottoPela Lei e Pela Grei
(English: "For the Law and for the People")
Agency overview
Formed1911; 113 years ago (1911)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionPortugal
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersQuartel do Carmo, Lisbon
Parent agencyMinistry of the Internal Administration (in peacetime)
Ministry of National Defence (in wartime)
Significant operation

The National Republican Guard (Portuguese: Guarda Nacional Republicana) or GNR is the national gendarmerie force of Portugal.

Members of the GNR are military personnel, subject to military law and organisation, unlike the agents of the civilian Public Security Police (PSP).

The GNR is responsible for the preventive police and highway patrol in 94% of Portuguese territory. At national level, GNR also has duties of customs enforcement, coastal control, nature protection, search and rescue operations and state ceremonial guards of honor.

Since the 2000s, the GNR has provided detachments for participation in international operations in Iraq, East Timor and other theatres.

As October 2023, the GNR is now partly in charge of controlling the Portuguese borders (alongside the PSP), with the dissolution of the SEF force.[1]


The GNR deploys over 22.608 personnel over 90 percent of Portuguese territory.[2] The GNR are deployed in Bosnia as part of IFOR/SFOR/EUFOR Althea[2] and 140 GNR were also deployed between 2006 and 2012 in Timor-Leste as part of UNMIT.


Portuguese National Republican Guard (GNR) headquarters at Largo do Carmo, Lisbon, Portugal, since 1868.
GNR cavalry at the changing of the guard of the Presidencial Palace of Belém.
GNR Fiscal Unit patrol boat. This Unit is in charge of enforcing custom and taxation duties in the country.
GNR cavalry patrol with horses, at Praia da Saúde (in English, Beach of Health) Costa da Caparica, next to Almada, and 15 kilometers of the Lisbon city in Portugal.

The National Republican Guard is in peacetime subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Administration for recruitment, administration, discipline and operational control and is also subordinate to the Ministry of National Defence for "uniformisation and normalisation" of military doctrine, armament and equipment.[3][4][5] In wartime or situations of crisis, the GNR can be placed under the operational control of the Armed Forces General Staff.[4][5]

Until 2007, the GNR maintained a traditional organization, whose bases still followed the organizational structure established in the early 20th century. This organization included: territorial units (four territorial brigades, that were designated "battalions" until 1993), special units (the Fiscal and the Traffic Brigades) and reserve units (the Cavalry and the Infantry regiments).[6] The old organization also included a central structure that reflected the command of a military field division, including a military-type staff.

In 2006, the multinational consulting company Accenture made a study, requested by the Government of Portugal, that recommended the change of the organization of the Portuguese security forces, including a radical reorganization of the GNR.[7]

Most of the recommendations regarding GNR were accepted and, in accordance with the Law No. 63/2007 (new Organic Law of the GNR), its traditional structure was replaced by a new and considerably different one, that was implemented in early 2009.[8]

The GNR is commanded by a general officer, with the title of Commandant-General (Comandante-Geral).

The National Republican Guard now includes the following:

Command Headquarters and HQ Services, NRG[edit]


  • GNR General Headquarters in Largo do Carmo, in Central Lisbon;

Reporting directly to the Commandant-General are the following:

  • Direção de Justiça e Disciplina (DJD, Directorate of Justice and Discipline);
  • Divisão de Planeamento Estratégico e Relações Internacionais (DPERI, Strategic Planning and International Relations Division);
  • Divisão de Comunicação e Relações Públicas (DCRP, Communications and Public Relations Division);
  • Comando Operacional (CO, Operational Command);
  • Comando da Administração dos Recursos internos (CARI, Command of the Administration of Internal Resources);
  • Comando da Doutrina e Formação (CDF, Training and Doctrine Command).

Territorial Units[edit]

The old four-brigade structure was replaced by a system of territorial commands, each covering a district or an autonomous region. Each territorial command – commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel – includes detachments – commanded by majors, captains or junior officer, Sub-detachments – led by junior officers – and posts – led by sergeants. Each territorial command usually includes a traffic detachment (from the former Traffic Brigade) and a detachment of intervention. The territorial commands of the Azores and Madeira play, essentially, just a coastal monitoring and fiscal actions, respectively, under the functional dependence of the UCC and UAF. The current territorial commands correspond essentially to the previous territorial groups of the old territorial brigades. With the extinction of the territorial brigades by the end of 2008, the territorial commands were placed in direct dependence on the central structure of command of GNR;

The territorial commands are as follows:

  • Azores Territorial Command (Comando Territorial dos Açores)
  • Aveiro Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Aveiro)
  • Beja Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Beja)
  • Braga Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Braga)
  • Bragança Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Bragança)
  • Castelo Branco Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Castelo Branco)
  • Coimbra Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Coimbra)
  • Évora Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Évora)
  • Faro Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Faro)
  • Guarda Territorial Command (Comando Territorial da Guarda)
  • Leiria Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Leiria)
  • Lisbon Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Lisboa)
  • Madeira Territorial Command (Comando Territorial da Madeira)
  • Portalegre Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Portalegre)
  • Porto Territorial Command (Comando Territorial do Porto)
  • Santarém Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Santarém)
  • Setúbal Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Setúbal)
  • Viseu Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Viseu)
  • Viana do Castelo Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Viana do Castelo)
  • Vila Real Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Vila Real)

Special Units[edit]

Special Units fall directly under the Operations Command (Comando Operacional).[9]

  • Coastal Control Unit (Unidade de Controlo Costeiro, UCC) – Essentially a coast guard service but without dedicated Search & Rescue and other functions, is commanded by a major-general (or a rear-admiral, if a naval officer), is responsible for surveillance and interception at sea and coast, including the operation of the Integrated Surveillance, Command and Control System (SIVICC), distributed along the Portuguese coast. This unit replaced the former Maritime Service of the Fiscal Brigade ;
  • Fiscal Action Unit (Unidade de Ação Fiscal, UAF) – commanded by a colonel, is responsible for carrying out the mission of taxation, tax and customs attributed to the GNR. It succeeded the previous Fiscal Brigade;
  • National Transit Unit (Unidade Nacional de Trânsito, UNT) – the national Highway Patrol, is commanded by a colonel, is responsible for standardization of procedures and training under the supervision of traffic. This unit replaced the central structure of the former Traffic Brigade, losing its territorial subunits transit, which went to the dependence of the various command authorities;
  • Security and State Honor Unit (Unidade de Segurança e Honras de Estado, USHE) – commanded by a major-general, is responsible for tasks of representation and security of the organs of sovereignty. Includes the Presidential Squadron (Esquadrão Presidencial), Horse Band (Charanga a Cavalo), the Guard Marching Band (Banda da Guarda), the State Honors and Security Group (Grupo de Segurança e Honras de Estado). This unit replaced the old Regimento de Cavalaria (Cavalry Regiment) and part of the old Regimento de Infantaria (Infantry Regiment);
  • Intervention Unit (Unidade de Intervenção, UI) – commanded by a major-general, is responsible for the missions of maintaining and restoring public order, management of critical incidents, tactical operations, security of sensitive installations, inactivation of explosives, protection and relief and projection of forces for international missions. Includes the Public Order Intervention Group (Grupo de Intervenção de Ordem Pública, GIOP), the Special Operations Intervention Group (Grupo de Intervenção de Operações Especiais, GIOE), the Intervention Group for Protection and Rescue (Grupo de Intervenção de Proteção e Socorro, GIPS), the Canine Intervention Group (Grupo de Intervenção Cinotécnico, GIC), the Center for Ordnance Disposal and Underground Security (Centro de Inativação de Explosivos e Segurança em Subsolo, CIESS) and the International Missions Force Training and Readiness Centre (Centro de Treino e Aprontamento de Força para Missões Internacionais). This unit was organized with several subunits of the former Infantry Regiment.


  • Serviço de Protecção da Natureza e do Ambiente- SEPNA (Nature and Environment Protection Service)

Educational establishment[edit]

  • NRG Basic School (Escola da Guarda, EG) – commanded by a major-general, is responsible for technical and professional training of military personnel of the GNR. Includes training centers in Figueira da Foz (CFFF) and Portalegre (CFP).


The National Republican Guard is the direct descendant of the Royal Police Guard created in the beginning of the 19th century.

Royal Guard of the Police, 1801[edit]

Cavalry of the Royal Guard of the Police of Lisbon, 1812
Infantry of the Royal Guard of the Police of Lisbon, 1812

The Royal Guard of the Police of Lisbon (Guarda Real da Polícia de Lisboa) was created in 1801 by Prince Regent John on the initiative of the Intendant-General of the Police of the Court and the Kingdom, Pina Manique. It took as a model the French Gendarmerie (1791).

Following the creation of Lisbon's Royal Guard of the Police, a similar Guard was created in Porto. After the transfer of the Portuguese Court to Rio de Janeiro, after the invasion of Portugal by the Napoleonic forces in 1807, a similar Royal Guard of the Police of Rio de Janeiro was created, this being the origin of the present military police of that state and of the other member states of Brazil.

Municipal Guard, 1834[edit]

At the end of May, 1834, as a result of the Civil War, King Peter IV, assuming the regency in name of his daughter Queen Mary II, disbanded the Royal Police Guard in Lisbon and Porto, creating the "Municipal Guards" of Lisbon and Porto on the basis of similar conditions.

In 1868 both of the Guards were put under a unified Commandant-General, installed in the Carmo Barracks in Lisbon, which today still is the Headquarters of the GNR. The Municipal Guard was considered part of the Army, but was dependent on the Ministry of Internal Affairs for all matters regarding public security.

Republican Guard, 1910[edit]

After the 5 October 1910 revolution, which replaced the Constitutional Monarchy with the Republic, the new regime changed the name of the Municipal Guard to the Republican Guard (Guarda Republicana), keeping the same organization. At this time, plans were already underway for the transformation of this Guard into a National Republican Guard, covering all the territory of Portugal.

National Republican Guard, 1911[edit]

In 1911, the Republican Guard was transformed in the National Republican Guard (GNR): this was to be a security force consisting of military personnel organised in a special corps of troops depending, in peace time, on the Ministry of Internal Administration, for the purpose of conscription, administration and execution with regards to its mission, and the Ministry of the National Defense for the purpose of uniformization and normalization of the military doctrine, as well as for its armament and equipment. In case of war or situation of crisis, the forces of National Republican Guard will, in terms of the respective laws and for operational effect, be subordinated to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

In 1993 the National Republican Guard absorbed the independent Fiscal Guard (Guarda Fiscal) that became the Fiscal Brigade of the GNR. In 2006 a new GNR unit was created with the purpose of firefighting and was named GIPS.

A unit of the GNR was deployed in Iraq during the NATO mission MNF-I within the Italian led Multinational Specialized Unit.

A small contingent of GNR forces were deployed in Timor-Leste in 2006.

Awards and decorations[edit]

1921: Awarded an exceptional move, the 3rd Battalion of the Fiscal Guard degree of Officer of the Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit (by the action of this Battalion in Republican Revolt 31 January 1891, in the city. Porto).
1934: Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit to the National Guard.
1965: Grand Cross of the Order of Christ the National Guard.
1984: Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
1985: Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit the Fiscal Guard.
1986: Honorary Member of the Military Order of Aviz the National Guard.
1988: Order of Christ the Fiscal Guard.
1990: Municipal Merit Medal, gold grade, Mayor of Lisbon, the Fiscal Guard.
1993: Medal Ensign Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, the Federal Military Police of the Brasilia National Guard.
1994: Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to the Public Safety Fiscal Guard.
2004: Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
2005: Distinguished Service, with palm, the Subassemblies ALFA GNR (mission in Iraq).
2006: Praise from the President to the Presidential Squadron, Cavalry Regiment of the GNR.
2006: title of honorary member of the Order of Prince Henry the Symphonic Band of the GNR.
2006: title of honorary member of the Order of Prince Henry the Cavalry Regiment of the GNR.
2008: Praise and gold medal for distinguished services, granted by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Units of extinct GNR, namely: Territorial Brigade Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5, Brigade Tax, Traffic Brigade, Infantry Regiment, and Cavalry.
2010: Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
2010: Title of honorary member of the Order of Prince Henry the National Guard.
2010: Order of Timor-Leste National Guard.
2011: Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
2011: Honorary Member of the Order of Liberty National Guard.



NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
National Republican Guard[10]
Tenente-general Major-general Coronel Tenente-coronel Major Capitão Tenente Alferes

Non-commissioned officers and enlisted[edit]

NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Portugal National Republican Guard[10]
Sargento-mor Sargento-chefe Sargento-ajudante Primeiro-sargento Segundo-sargento Furriel Cabo-mor Cabo-chefe Cabo-de-curso Cabo Guarda principal Guarda



Former GNR highway patrol Porsche.
GNR forest rescue vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
GNR patrol car (Volkswagen Passat)
GNR patrol car (Nissan Almera) and GNR van (Mercedes-Benz Sprinter)
GNR Nissan Patrol
GNR forest rescue vehicles (Mitsubishi Pajero and Mitsubishi L200)
GNR Mitsubishi Outlander
GNR patrol car (Škoda Octavia)
GNR Land Rover Defender
GNR Škoda Octavia

Police services in Portugal have always used a wide range of firearms in 9×19mm to equip their personnel.

At the start of the 21st century they chose the Glock 19 as the standard law enforcement handgun, which came only to replace the old Walther PP and Walther P38. In recent years, new batches of Glock 19 pistols have been purchased in order to replace older pistol models, for example the Browning Hi-Power, Heckler & Koch P9S, Heckler & Koch VP70M, SIG Sauer P226, Walther P5 and Star Model B.[14] Any other handgun in a caliber above .32 ACP will remain in service.


Machine guns




Patrol cars

Patrol jeeps

Vans, trucks and buses
Armoured and water cannon vehicles [19]
  • Bojador-class offshore surveillance (1 unit)
  • Ribamar-class surveillance and interception boats (12 units)
  • Zodíaco-class inland waters control boats (8 units)
  • High Speed Speedboat (5 units)


Unmanned aerial vehicle[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.portugalresident.com/sef-officially-becomes-sea-today-as-psp-gnr-take-over-control-of-portugals-borders/
  2. ^ a b [1] Archived 1 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Guarda Nacional Republicana – Member State". European Gendarmerie Force. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Portuguese National Republican Guard". International Association of Gendarmeries and Police Forces with Military Status. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Missão, Visão, Valores". Guarda Nacional Republicana (in Portuguese). Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  6. ^ No. 2 Brigade (Headquarters in Lisbon, covered the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region), No. 3 Brigade (Évora, Southern Region), No. 4 Brigade (Porto, Northern Region), No. 5 Brigade (Coimbra, Central Region); Infantry Regiment (located in Lisbon, included a public order and special operations Battalion and Garrison Companies), Cavalry Regiment (located in Lisbon, included a Horse Group, a Motorized and Armoured Squadron and a Presidential Squadron); Fiscal Brigade (Headquarters in Lisbon, responsible for the customs and border patrol, includes a maritime service and covers all of the Portuguese territory, including Azores and Madeira), and the Traffic Brigade, a highway patrol (Headquarters in Lisbon, responsible for patrolling the highways, covered all of the continental Portuguese territory);
  7. ^ "Estudo de Racionalização de Estruturas da GNR e da PSP, Relatório Final" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Accenture / Ministério da Administração Interna. August 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). www.dre.pt. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b "A Nova Orgânica Da Guarda Nacional Republicana | Operacional". Operacional.pt. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Distintivos". gnr.pt (in Portuguese). Republican National Guard. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  11. ^ "O GRUPO DE INTERVENÇÃO DE OPERAÇÕES ESPECIAIS DA GNR | Operacional" (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  12. ^ "GIOE/GNR – 2019: NOVO EQUIPAMENTO DE PROTECÇÃO INDIVIDUAL E ARMAMENTO | Operacional" (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Revista GNR 105" (PDF). Revista da GNR: 51.
  14. ^ "PSP, GNR e SEF receberam mais de 12 mil armas desde 2017". www.dn.pt (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  15. ^ Gomes, Joaquim (19 December 2022). "GNR deixou fugir assaltante de quadrilha albanesa em Cerveira por pensar que era colega". O Minho (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  16. ^ "This Seized Nissan GT-R Has A New Life As An Organ Transportation Vehicle". Car Throttle. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  17. ^ a b Redação (4 May 2022). "GNR tem nova "bomba" nas estradas (e apresenta novas cores das viaturas)". O Minho (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  18. ^ "PoADU - Portuguese Aerospace & Defence Update". PoADU - Portuguese Aerospace & Defence Update. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  19. ^ "BLINDADOS EM TESTES". www.cmjornal.pt (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  20. ^ "GNR vai vigiar costa com drone de 885 mil euros". www.cmjornal.pt (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  21. ^ "SEGUREX 2015 | Operacional" (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 31 December 2022.

External links[edit]