The Portuguese police force.jpg

The Portuguese police force

There are a variety of police and security force departments in Portugal, many of which have been involved in the search for three year old Madeleine McCann.

The GNR was the first to be called to the scene on Thursday night. They are the National Republican Guard and were created on May 3 1911. They are essentially a military police force whose main objectives include; law enforcement, security and public order, international co-operation, road regulation enforcement, help and first aid.

The Protecção Civil or Civil Protection have also been involved in the searches for Madeleine and were responsible for the helicopter searches on Friday May 4. Their main objectives are to; prevent serious accident and catastrophes, identify risks and limit their effects, help and assist people in danger, help to restore normality to affected areas.

The Policia Judiciária or Judicial Police we see today were created on October 20 1945, their predecessors being the Policia Civil or Civil Police created by D. Luis on July 2 1867. This force is to investigate all criminal cases including missing persons. They include forensic scientists and grupos cinotécnicos or tracker dogs from Lisbon. The breeds most often used for tracking or drug finding include; German shepherd, Labrador retriever and rotweiller.

Another branch of the police is the Polícia Marítima, Maritime Police. It is an armed and uniformed police composed of navy and military personnel. They specialise in all matters involving the sea and the coastline including; searching ships and coastlines and regulating maritime activities.

The Bombeiros or Fire brigade have also been involved in the searches. Apart from their main objectives to combat fires they also assist the Civil Protection and other government authorities in specific cases.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]

Updated 12:11, May 10, 2007