National Police of Peru

The Peruvian National Police (Spanish: Policía Nacional del Perú, PNP) is the national police force of Peru. Its jurisdiction covers the nation's land, sea, and air territories. Formed from the merge of the Investigative Police, the Civil Guard, and the Republican Guard in 1988, it is one of the largest police forces in Latin America. Its mission is to preserve domestic order, public order and national security, in order to enforce the law and protect the people of Peru. The PNP is controlled by the Ministry of the Interior (Peru). The PNP has a number of divisions, tasked with enforcing specific aspects of the law; among the more well known are DIROES (Special Operations), DIRANDRO (Anti-Narcotics Unit), DIRINCRI (Criminal Investigations), and DIRCOTE (Anti-Terrorism).

National Police of Peru
Policia Nacional del Perú
Coat of arms of the Peruvian National Police
Coat of arms of the Peruvian National Police
Common namePolicia Nacional
Motto"Dios, Patria, Ley"
"God, Fatherland, Law"
Agency overview
FormedDecember 6, 1958 (unification)
Preceding agencies
Annual budgetS/. 8.1 billion 2009[1]
Jurisdictional structure
National agencyPeru
Operations jurisdictionPeru
Size1,285,220 km² (496,222 mi²)
Population29,132,013 June 2009
Governing bodyMinistry of the Interior
General nature
Operational structure
Elected officer responsible
  • Vacant, Minister of Interior
Agency executive
AirbasesJorge Chávez International Airport
  • December 6

While the National Police traces its existence to 1988, it is successor of the long line of Peruvian law enforcement organizations.

Functions of the National Police of PeruEdit

Under the 1988 National Police Act[2] and subsequent legistlative acts of Congress, the National Police has the following functions:

  1. Maintaining security and public order and protect human rights.
  2. Prevent, combat, investigate and report crimes.
  3. Ensure public safety.
  4. Provide protection to children, adolescents, the elderly and women who are at risk of their freedom.
  5. Investigate the disappearance of individuals.
  6. Ensure and control vehicular and pedestrian free movement on the public roads and secure vehicle and rail transport, to investigate and report accidents, and keep records of vehicles for law enforcement, in coordination with the responsible authority.
  7. Intervene in the air, sea, river and lake transportation in their actions.
  8. Monitor and control the borders and enforce the laws on migratory control of nationals and foreigners.
  9. Providing security to the President of the Republic, the Heads of State on an official visit, the Prime Minister, and the autonomous constitutional bodies, deputies of Congress, Ministers of State, as well as diplomats, dignitaries and other persons authorized by Law.
  10. Comply with the Judiciary, the Constitutional Court, National Elections Board, the Public Ministry and the National Electoral Office in exercising its functions.
  11. Participate in prison security, as well as the transfer of the accused and sentenced.
  12. Participate in the compliance of the provisions relating to the protection and conservation of natural resources and the environment, and the safety of Peruvian archaeological and cultural heritage.
  13. Ensuring the safety of goods and services, in coordination with relevant state bodies.
  14. Participate in National Defense, Civil Defense and the economic and social development of the country.
  15. Carry out the identification of persons for law enforcement purposes.
  16. Exercise such other functions as provided for in the Constitution and relevant laws of the Republic of Peru.


The history of the Peruvian police goes back to the age of the Incas: however, it was since Peru became an independent republic in 1821 that the police began to be seen as a definite institution with its own mission and functions on the basis of institutions of Spanish colonial rule. [3]

The first police forces, beginning between 1825 and 1839, emerged as part of the armed forces. At that time, watchmen and guards also carried out police functions within their areas of operation.

The First Public Safety and Police ForcesEdit

After the proclamation of Peruvian independence by General San Martín in 1821, the "Civic Militia" (Milicia Cívica) was created to keep public order. Its inspector general was Don José Bernardo de Tagle y Portocarrero, Marqués de Torre Tagle, who later served the Supreme Government (Supremo Gobierno) under the title Supreme Governor (Supremo Gobernador) during 1823–24.

Under San Martín the presidents of departmental governing bodies (juntas departamentales) were given the function of "police judges" (Jueces de Policía). As such their task was to oversee public morals and social progress in general. In 1822–23 police functions were organised under “commissioners” (Comisarios) and section leaders (Decuriones), with the support of the pre-existing neighbourhood leaders ( Alcaldes de Barrio). A secret police force, known as the Civil Brigade (Brigada Civil), also came into being at that time. Its mission was to identify those conspiring against independence, whose agents were infiltrating into the administrative structures of the new government, and even into the young armed forces.

The first constitution of the republic was promulgated in 1823, under the presidency of Don José Bernardo Tagle, having been approved by the first constituent assembly on 12 November. Three new ministries were created: Government and Foreign Relations (which took responsibility for policing), War and the Navy, and Finance.

Although this constitution laid down that municipal councils should be in charge of the Policía de Orden, responsible for security and public order, it also included the Milicia Cívica and the Guardia de Policía as part of the land-based armed forces, together with the army. The Milicia Cívica would maintain “public security” within each province, while the Guardia de Policía would maintain “private security”, e.g. dealing with highway robbers, and prosecuting criminals.

In a decree issued on 7 January 1825, Simón Bolívar converted the Milicia Cívica into the Civil Forces (Fuerzas Civicas), with the task of ensuring public order within the provinces.[4] The Fuerza Civicas of the departamental capitals, modeled on the French example of the National Guard, was staffed by soldiers released from army service and was organised on military lines; it remained part of the armed forces and constituted the army reserve. On 9 December 1826 the Vitalicia (“lifelong”) constitution was issued, under which police functions were transferred from municipal government (a relic of the viceroyal period) to the Ministry of Government, working through the prefectures and Intendencias.

On 20 January 1827, during his first presidency, Marshal Don Andrés de Santa Cruz Calaumana issued a provisional set of police regulations.

In 1834 the serenos (town watchmen) of the viceroyal period were re-constituted, now properly armed and in uniform. This occurred under the presidency of Marshal Luis José de Orbegoso y Moncada. Soon afterwards, the “Arequipa regulations” created the posts of Inspector and Guard (Celador), and the Order and Internal Security Forces came under the superintendent of police in Lima, and under the sub-prefects in the provinces.

In his second administration (1836–1837), Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz ordered increased security patrols nationwide, and the town level watchmen's detachments were cited during his term of office, previously, these detachments made up of paid watchmen mounted permanent surveillance duties.

The National GendarmerieEdit

General Don José Rufino Echenique Benavente, who became president in 1851 by supreme decree of 14 April 1852[5] formally reorganized the Police Force into one body and formally created the Peruvian National Gendarmerie, a Police Force composed of armed pickets of gendarmes led by officers seconded from the Army which went into the tables of these units were also created so-called "roving Barracks." Just like the National Guard, the Gendamerie was organized along military lines.

The same year of its creation, 1852, 8 Companies of Infantry Gendarmes (formed into 2 Battalions) and a Regiment of Cavalry Gendarmes composed of 4 Squadrons were activated, becoming the primary operational formations of the frist[6]

The first Gendarmerie provisions were enacted in 1853 and 1855. In 1855, as Marshal Ramón Castilla began his second term as President (1855–1862), he then proceeded to reorganize the gendarmerie, and on April 7, 1856,[7] merged into it the existing Police Corps, setting strict entry requirements and increasing their numbers.

However 1856 the Head of Government for Lima Dr. Juan del Mar raised a 150-man company of Guardsmen for the duties of public security in the Peruvian capital city, independent from the Gendarmerie proper, due to its pressing needs for security.

On August 7 of 1861, the old organization of the Gendarmerie was disbanded. Replacing it, the infantry component of the Gendarmerie were, by now, the 1st and 2nd Gendarme Infantry Battalions, and the Gendarme Cavalry Squadron.

Post-1873: Police reforms and the creation of a modern police forceEdit

The transformation of the police forces to what it is today began in 1873 under the presidency of Manuel Pardo Lavalle, when a Supreme Decree on New Year's Eve, approved into law by Congress on 3 April the next year, officially set the stage for a nationwide police reform. Under that reform Peruvian law enforcement was to be organized in the following:

  • "Neighborhood Organization", composed by the neighborhood residents against criminals, by the Mayors of the respective municipalities or cities.
  • "Police Services", composed of the Security Police in markets and public places.
  • "Police for Establishments".
  • "Rural Police"
  • "Prison Guards"
  • "Port Police, regulated by the Peruvian Navy.
  • "Organization of the permanent forces," for the preservation of public order, preventing crimes and other similar problems.
Guards Subinspector Mariano Santos Mateos, who fought in the War of the Pacific, patron of the National Police

It also refers to "urban and rural commisariats and of the Regular Police Force divided into the Civil Guard (assisting in the work of the Rural Police as must be mounted on horseback) and the National Gendarmerie, respectively".[8] Thus through Supreme Decrees of December 31 of 1873 (published in the Diario Oficial "El Peruano" on January 28 of 1874) and March 23 of 1874 providing for its creation, the Peruvian Civil Guard was formally established, the first modern national police force in Peruvian lands. Supreme Resolutions decreed by the presidency in 1874-75 made clear the duties assinged to the Guard and the National Gendarmerie as part of the law enforcement apparatus of the republic. Under these laws and relevant legislation both organizations, as paramilitary reserve to the army, fought bravely in the War of the Pacific and were partically affected by the 1896 French-oriented reorganization of the Peruvian Army.

Reorganized on French National Gendarmerie lines, the organization of both institutions lasted till a second police reform in 1919 under President Augusto B. Leguía. With the assistance of the Spanish Civil Guard, personnel of which were authorized by King Alfonso XIII to help reorganize the police organizations of the republic, arrived in Peru in October 1921, as well as under the instigation of General Gerardo Álvarez of the Peruvian Army following a visit to Paris in France in 1919, the two organizations were split as follows:

  • The National Gendarmerie's 1st Battalion became the Republican Guard Battalion of the National Gendarmerie until it was separated in 1922, served as presidential guard to the President of Peru until 1934-35
  • The remainder of the National Gendarmerie and the old Civil Guard were also reorganized, the Civil Guard now becoming a purely rural force on the basis of the rest of the former, with the latter's city and town detachments formed into the Security Corps (Cuerpo de Seguridad), both modeled on the French Surete Nationale and the Spanish police forces in the mainland at that time
  • a separate unit for investigative work, the Investigation and Surveillance Brigade (Brigada de Investigación y Vigilancia) was later formed on part of the detectives and administrative personnel of the Civil Guard and served under it's command, while also providing investigative work for the Security Corps

In addition, a unified national police academy for three of the four organizations was established in 1922 and its first cadets graduated with police officer's commissions in 1923. By the end of the Leguía presidency, the separation of the police institutions from the armed forces of the state was complete: Law No.6183 enacted on April 23, 1928 formally declared the status of the police forces and the then Republican Guard Regiment as paramilitary units under the control and supervision of the Ministry of Government and Police with military traditions but with functions more akin to civil police services in many countries, acting thus as wartime reserve for the services if warranted by the Government of the Republic on its wishes. Under this law and other legislation from Congress, and decrees and resolutions of the presidency, Peruvian constables and police officers fought for the country in both the 1932-33 Colombia–Peru War and the 1941 Ecuadorian–Peruvian War.

Alongside their wartime role in support of the armed forces, the police services fought bravely in many peacetime law enforcement operations beginning 1924, fighting against serious banditry and organized crime in parts of the country and the 1932 revolt of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance. The 1960s would see Peruvian police organizations be involved in the war against Communists in the countryside, sparking the Internal conflict in Peru, one such police officer's death in 1964 forced the involvement of the Armed Forces.

In 1929 the Police Health Service was raised as a component under the Police Ministry.

In 1935 the Republican Guard's role was expanded, through the enactment by the National Congress of the Republican Guard Organic Law, signed that same year by President Óscar R. Benavides. It was now in charge of patrolling the land borders, security of prisons, security of private and public places of national importance, and to assist in maintaining peace and order and national security as a whole, as well as contributing to the efforts of the armed forces during wartime. Until 1969 it was also assigned an anti-riot role to maintain public order during demostrations and rallies.

In 1944, the Civil Guard was reorganized once more when the Security Corps and its personnel were merged into it.


  • Album del Cincuentenario de la Guardia Civil del Perú, 1972, artículo: Breve Reseña Histórica de la Policía en el Perú, página 13 . Album of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Civil Guard of Peru, 1972, article: Brief History of the Police in Peru, page 13.
  • Revista de la Guardia Civil del Perú, Año L, Nº 400, Noviembre-Diciembre de 1982, folleto adjunto: La Guardia Civil del Perú (páginas desglosables) . Revista de la Guardia Civil del Perú, Año L, No. 400, November–December 1982, attached brochure: The Guardia Civil of Peru (pages broken down).
  • Revista de la Guardia Civil del Perú, Año LVI, Nº 434, Noviembre-Diciembre de 1988, artículo: Historia de la Guardia Civil del Perú refleja abnegación, sacrificio, patriotismo y heroicidad a la patria ya la sociedad, que la cubre de gloria e inmortalidad, páginas 10–20 . Revista de la Guardia Civil del Perú, Año LVI, No. 434, November–December 1988 article: History of the Guardia Civil of Peru reflects dedication, sacrifice, heroism and patriotism to the nation and society, which covers the glory and immortality, pages 10–20.
  • Revista de la Policía Nacional del Perú, Año 3, Nº 12, Agosto de 1991, artículo: Proceso histórico de la PNP a través de las Constituciones del Perú por el Coronel PNP Carlos Orbegoso Rojas, páginas 64–65 . Journal of the National Police of Peru, Year 3, No. 12, August 1991, article: Historical process of the PNP through the constitution of Peru by Colonel PNP Orbegoso Carlos Rojas, pages 64–65.
  • Revista de la Policía Nacional del Perú, Año 8, Nº 56, Diciembre de 1996, artículo: Una gloriosa historia policial. Journal of the National Police of Peru, Year 8, No. 56, December 1996 article: A glorious history of policing. Nota histórica sobre la existencia de la policía en el Perú, páginas 6–9 . Historical note on the existence of the police in Peru, pages 6–9.
  • Revista de la Policía Nacional del Perú, Año 14, Nº 81, Enero-Febrero–Marzo de 2002, artículo: Caballeros de la ley, Custodios de la paz, Primera Parte, páginas 69–83 . Journal of the National Police of Peru, Year 14, No. 81, January–February–March 2002, article: Knights of the Act, the Guardians of Peace, Part One, pages 69–83.
  • Revista de la Policía Nacional del Perú, Año 14, Nº 82, Abril-Mayo–Junio de 2002, artículo: Caballeros de la ley, Custodios de la paz, Parte Final, páginas 67–83 . Journal of the National Police of Peru, Year 14, No. 82, April–May–June 2002 article: Knights of the law, custody of the peace, part, pages 67–83.


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2009-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Portal del Estado Peruano (ed.). "National Police Act- Artículo 2º. Funciones". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  3. ^$FILE/MC08072290813.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ Congreso de la República del Perú (ed.). "Disponiendo, que en cada capital de los departamentos se levantará una milicia cívica" (PDF). p. 1. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  5. ^ Article 1 of Supreme Decree 14 April 1852 reads: "Todos los cuerpos de Policía, de Serenos y vigilantes, se reunirán en uno solo, con nombre de Gendarmería, se empleará exclusivamente en mantener la seguridad pública". Also the 2nd Article of this legal provision expressing the dependence of this body of the Ministry of Government and Police.
  6. ^ "La Comisaría: Unidad básica de la función policial por el General GC (R) David Haddad Carvallo". Revista de la Policía Nacional del Perú (Lima), Año 11, N° 71, January-February 1999, page 11.
  7. ^ In the Decree of the 7 April of 1856 issued by Castilla provides that "los cuerpos de policía y de vigilantes que existen hoy, se reunirán en uno solo que con el nombre de Gendarmes se empleará exclusivamente en mantener la seguridad público; constará de dos regimientos, uno de infantería y otro de caballería, el primero compuesto de dos batallones y el segundo de cuatro escuadrones".
  8. ^ Article 14, Chapter IV, Supreme Decree of 31 December 1873

External linksEdit