Law enforcement by country

Law enforcement by country

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.


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.


Law enforcement in Austria was fundamentally reorganised in 2005 when the former law enforcement bodies, i.e., the public security constabulary, the criminal investigation service and the gendarmerie were consolidated and organized into nine federal police commands.


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

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.





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 as the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), which is tasked with enforcing certain federal laws throughout the country. Additionally, eight of the ten provinces choose to employ the RCMP under contract as their provincial police force rather than establishing their own police services; the exceptions are Ontario and Quebec. Newfoundland has retained the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for limited use, but still uses the RCMP 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) who do not have their own police forces instead will contract either the RCMP (with the federal government absorbing some of the cost) or their provincial force to police the community.

China (People's Republic of China)

In China, civilian police is mainly done by the People's Police, 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 administration of China's People's Liberation Army.

Czech Republic

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 "Policejni 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.


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


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



Germany is a federal republic of sixteen states. Each of those states has its own police force ("Landespolizei"). Each is supervised by the Minister (or, in Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin, the Senator) of Internal Affairs of the state.

In addition, the federal government has two police agencies, called the "Bundeskriminalamt" (Federal Investigation Bureau or BKA) and "Bundespolizei" (Federal Police or BPOL). Until 2005, the BPOL was called "Bundesgrenzschutz" (Federal Border Protection), but after expanded competence in the 1990s and the abolition of border controls in the European Union, its name was changed.


The Greek Police Force ( _el. αστυνομία; IPA2|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 especially 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 (SAR, People's Republic of China)

The Hong Kong Police Force ( _zh. 香港警察; pinyin: Xiānggǎng Jǐngchá ) is the police force of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. All officers are armed and carry firearms while on duty.

Hong Kong Auxiliary Police is a part-time, paid positions for those who are interested in a policing career. Auxiliary officers are trained and armed just like regular members, except their area of policing is usually limited to patrolling the streets and to assist regular members.



The Icelandic National Police ("Lögreglan" and "Ríkislögreglan") is Iceland's police force which is under the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical affairs. The National Commissioner is the overall commander, but he answers to the minister. The police is divided into districts. Iceland also has a Customs police force ("Tollgæslan") which is under the Ministry of Finance. Icelandic policemen generally do not carry firearms, instead they carry telescopic batons and pepper spray.The National Commissioner has a Special operations unit which is called "Víkingasveitin".


Law enforcement in India is carried out on three levels: Union/federal mainly by the Indian Police Service, state by state police and municipal by metropolitan police. There are a multitude of different federal law enforcement agencies.


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

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.


The Irish Police force, An Garda Síochána, translates to "Guardians of the Peace". All routinely uniformed officers are unarmed with the exception of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), which is comparable to SWAT or CO19 and operates a variety of weapons and non-lethal devices suchas Tasers. All Gardaí (Police Officers) who train as detectives have the right to carry a sidearm, commonly Sig or Glock weapons.

An Garda Síochána operates a number of specialist units including the Traffic Corps, Mounted Unit, GASU (Garda Air Support Unit, consisting of a BN-2A aircraft as well as two helicopters operated by the Irish Air Corps from Casement Aerodrome) and the Special Detective Unit in addition to the ERU. Uniformed Gardaí wear stab-proof body armour and carry expandable ASP batons as well as handcuffs and other tactical equipment.


The Israeli Police ("Mishteret Yisra'el") is the police force for the State of Israel. It is currently 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.


Law enforcement in Italy is carried out by many 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, "Polizia Regionale" in five of the autonomous regions 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 ( _lb. Police Grand-Ducale) is the primary law enforcement agency in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The police is directed by the Luxembourgian Minister for Justice, although they operate in the name, and under the ultimate control, of the Grand Duke. There had previously been a Minister for the Police Force. The Grand Ducal Police has existed in its current form since 1 January 2000, when the Gendarmerie was merged with the police. The Grand Ducal Police is responsible for ensuring Luxembourg's internal security, maintaining law and order, and enforcing all laws and Grand Ducal decrees. It is also responsible for assisting the military in its internal operations, as prescribed by the Grand Duke.


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

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.


The Royal Malaysian Police or Polis Diraja Malaysia in Malay is a main branch of security forces in Malaysia. 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.

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 and UTK. VAT 69 commando battalion is the special force based on by SAS to fighting communist threats and the Special Action Units (Malay: Unit Tindakan Khas), which is modelled on SWAT teams.

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 "policial judicial" (judicial police) or "policia preventiva" (preventive police). The basic difference being that the "policial judicial" are usually under the administration of the judicial branch of government (i.e., judges, attorneys generals, 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:

*"Agencia Federal de Investigaciones" (Federal Investigations Agency) - Mexican FBI
*"Policia Federal Preventiva" (Federal Preventive Police)
*"Policia Estatal Preventiva" (State Preventive Police)
*"Policia Municipal Preventiva" (Municipal Preventive Police)


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 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.

New Zealand

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. Specialized 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 Norwegian national police force ( _no. 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 2300.

Officers of the 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.


The police in Pakistan is under the control of each province. Only capital city police are an exception, and is under federal government control with its own setup. A separate traffic police force is for managing traffic.


The national police force in Perú 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. There is more information for tourists on how to deal with the Peruvian police forces if necessary in the [ wikitravel page on Perú] .


Law enforcement in the Philippines is usually handled by two primary agencies, either by the Philippine National Police (PNP) or by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Neighborhood policing is done by the local community police, or "barangay" police. Some areas frequented by foreigners have tourism police officers.


* Policja (National Police paid from the state budget.)
* City guard ("Straż miejska", an auxiliary quasi-police service paid from the municipal budget of wealthier cities. 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.)

* Border patrol ("Straż graniczna", Polish border patrol can act like the Policja near the Polish border)


There are three main police forces in Portugal. The Polícia de Segurança Pública that works in large urban areas, the Republican National Guard that works in the countryside and small towns, and the Polícia Judiciária, responsible for criminal investigations.



The police in Russia are 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. One reason may be to avoid confusion with the astonishing number and variety of words which start with "pol-" in Russian and related languages.

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.



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.

outh Africa

The South African Police Service is responsible for providing policing services to the public of South Africa at 1115 police stations, divided across 9 provinces.


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

Sri Lanka

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 Department 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.

Taiwan (Republic of China)

The Taiwanese police is a modern high-tech national police force that employs various departments as well as an elite Special Forces unit known as the Thunder Squad. It is specially 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.


The Royal Thai Police are subdivided into several regions and services, each enjoying their own powers.
* Crime Suppression Division, Thai FBI
* Immigration
* Traffic police


The Turkish Police ("Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü") provides law enforcement and security matters mostly in cities and metros.


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

United Kingdom

The majority of law enforcement in the United Kingdom is carried out by the 52 territorial police forces, each of which covers a 'police area' (a particular region) and has an independent police authority. These forces have their grounding in the Police Act 1996, which prescribes a number of issues such as appointment of a Chief Constable, jurisdiction and responsibilities.

There are also four special police forces that have a specific, non-regional jurisdiction - the British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence Police and Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

There are a number of miscellaneous constabularies that have escaped police reform, mostly having their foundations in old legislation. These have a responsibility to police specific local areas, such as ports and parks.

Lastly, there are a number of government bodies that are not police forces but still enforce laws. People employed by these bodies, such as the Marine and Fisheries Agency and UK Border Agency, enjoy limited powers of detention and search, but generally cannot make full arrests.

Over the centuries there has been a wide variation in the number of police forces in the United Kingdom, with a large number now no longer in existence. See List of former police forces in the United Kingdom for these. With the exception of the Ministry of Defence Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland the majority of British police are never routinely armed, relying on an extendable baton instead and special armed units are called in only when necessary. Uniquely in Britain, there are police forces of Crown Dependencies such as the Isle of Man, Falkland Islands, 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.

United States

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.

ee also

* Law enforcement in present-day nations and states
* List of basic law enforcement topics
* List of law enforcement agencies

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Law enforcement in Cuba — is the responsibility of the National Revolutionary Police Force (Spanish: Policía Nacional Revolucionaria, PNR) under the administration of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior. Article 64 of the Cuban Constitution states that Defense of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in Malta — is the responsibility of The Police Force of Malta, a 1,732 strong police force with 106 other civilian employees,[1] whose mission is defined by the Penal Code of Malta and Maltese Law on the Police Force. Founded on July 12, 1814, by Sir Thomas …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in present-day nations and states — This is a list of law enforcement in articles, for contemporary countries, states and dependencies. compactTOC2 NOTOC A *flagicon|Afghanistan Law enforcement in Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Afghanistan *flagicon|United Kingdom Law enforcement… …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement agency — (LEA) is a term used to describe either an organisation that enforces the laws of one or more governing bodies, or an organisation that actively and directly assists in the enforcement of laws. In doing so, the LEA assists the governing bodies to …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in the United Kingdom — Crime in the UK · Terrorism in the UK Topics …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in India — by numerous law enforcement agencies. Like many federal structures, the nature of the Constitution of India mandates law and order as a subject of the state, therefore the bulk of the policing lies with the respective states and territories of… …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in the People's Republic of China — consists of an extensive public security system and a variety of enforcement procedures are used to maintain order in the country. Along with the courts and procuratorates, the country s judicial and public security agencies included the Ministry …   Wikipedia

  • Law Enforcement Exploring — is a career oriented program that gives young adults the opportunity to explore a career in law enforcement by working with local law enforcement agencies. It is one of the Exploring programs from Learning for Life, a non Scouting subsidiary of… …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in Sweden — is carried out by several government entities, mainly run by the Government of Sweden. Structure The organization mainly tasked with law enforcement is the Swedish Police. In addition, under certain circumstances other government agencies can be… …   Wikipedia

  • Law enforcement in Azerbaijan — comes under the control of the country s Ministry of Internal Affairs, who administer the National Police of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Admitted to the OSCE on 30 January 1992, with an OSCE office opening in Baku on 16 November 1999, and as a… …   Wikipedia