Polícia Judiciária

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Judicial Police
Polícia Judiciária
Abbreviation PJ
Polícia Judiciária.jpg
Logo of the Judicial Police.
Agency overview
Formed 1893
Preceding agency Polícia Cívica
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Portugal
Primary governing body Government of Portugal
Secondary governing body Ministry of Justice (Portugal)
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
Operational structure
Headquarters Lisbon

The Polícia Judiciária - PJ (English: Judicial Police) is the main police branch of criminal investigation in Portugal, dedicated to fighting criminality, organized crime, terrorism, drugs, corruption and financial crimes. It is integrated into the Ministry of Justice, under the supervision of the Public Ministry.

The similar police branch in Macau is also named Polícia Judiciária.[1] The territory had ceased to be an overseas province of Portugal in 1999. The Portuguese language has remained official, and Polícia Judiciária have remained in place.


The present Polícia Judiciária originates from a division of the old Polícia Civil (Civil Police). The Polícia Civil was founded on 2 July 1867, during the reign of Luís I of Portugal and changed its name to Polícia Cívica (Civic Police) in 1910. By decree of 29 August 1893, the Polícia de Investigação Judiciária e Preventiva (Judicial Investigation and Preventive Police) branch of the Polícia Civil is created. In 1922, this branch became the PIC - Polícia de Investigação Criminal (Criminal Investigation Police). In 1927, it becames an autonomous police service under the Ministry of Justice. On 20 October 1945, the PIC changed its name to Polícia Judiciária.


The PJ is directed by a Director Nacional (National Director), Directores Regionais (Regional Directors) and has several other structures. There are local branches in several Portuguese cities across the country.


The Polícia Judiciária is officially responsible for criminal investigation and evidence collection. In addition to this, almost all homicides in Portuguese territory are handled by the PJ (there is also the unrelated Polícia Judiciária Militar, the criminal investigation military police). The crime fighting work performed by the Polícia Judiciária is regularly shown in the Portuguese media. Major drug trafficking combat operations are often reported in the main Portuguese television networks and other media, as well as the dismantling of organized crime groups linked with terrorism, corruption, fraud, burglary, robbery, forgery and other crimes. In the 2000s, the Polícia Judiciária had a rate of success of 77.43% in finding missing children, including abductions and runaway children.[2][3] In 2009 alone, PJ had a 100% success rate in finding missing children (193 cases solved out of 193; 53 in the Lisbon Region).[4] The same happened in 2010.


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