This is my monthly column on Euroweekly News. Page 28
Surely all of us at some point in our lives have needed to call the Police to request their help, in Spain it’s easy to call the Police, the difficulty is in calling the right Police. In Spain, we have, depending on where you live, the national police, the Guardia Civil, the regional police, and the local police, which makes it really difficult to know where to go to request help you may need.
The National Police and the Guardia Civil belong to what is called “State Security Forces and Bodies” and their functions are to promote citizen security, preventing disorders and crimes, as well as prosecuting these. The functions of both bodies are similar, although not always the same, the initial difference is where they carry out their work.
The National Police depends is part of the Ministry of the Interior and occupies an important part of the Spanish territory, with the exception of the Autonomous Communities that have an Autonomous Police, such as Catalonia (called Mossos de Esquadra) or the Basque Country (Ertzaintza).
Those known as “Municipal” are the Local Police and are part of each City Council. However, not all municipalities have Local Police, as it is a decision made by each of the municipal governments. The local police carry out their function exclusively in the locality to which they belong and therefore their functions are limited to that area. They must work with the national police and the Civil Guard.
So depending on where you live and what matter it is, you should call 091 (National Police), 092 (local police) or Civil Guard 062, although a good alternative is to call the emergency number 112 if it is an important matter and they will refer you to the proper police.
Another option is to download the application for mobile phones “AlertCops” which is also available in English, and puts you in contact with the appropriate Police, and it is a useful tool for many cases in which you are a witness or victim of a possible crime.
Marisa Moreno Castillo
Lawyer and Consul from Denmark