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The Polícia Judiciária (PJ; English: Judicial Police) is the national criminal investigation police agency of Portugal, focused in fighting serious crimes, including homicides, kidnapping, organized crime, terrorism, illegal drug trade, corruption, cybercrime and financial crime. It is integrated into the Ministry of Justice, but operates under the supervision of the Public Ministry.

Judicial Police
Polícia Judiciária
Logo da Polícia Judiciária.jpg
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Polícia Civil (Civil Police)
Jurisdictional structure
National agencyPortugal
Operations jurisdictionPortugal
Primary governing bodyGovernment of Portugal
Secondary governing bodyMinistry of Justice (Portugal)
General nature

Agency executive
  • José Almeida Rodrigues, National Director

Several countries and territories that were once overseas provinces of Portugal maintain criminal investigation police forces modeled after the Portuguese one, with some of them retaining also the name Polícia Judiciária. These are the cases of Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Macau.[1]

The Polícia Judiciária Militar (Military Judicial Police) is a separate criminal investigation police agency that operates under the Ministry of National Defense. This agency is responsible for the investigation of military crimes and crimes committed among the Portuguese Armed Forces.


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 was created. In 1922, this branch became the Polícia de Investigação Criminal (PIC, Criminal Investigation Police). In 1927, it became an autonomous police service under the Ministry of Justice. On 20 October 1945, the PIC changed its name to Polícia Judiciária.


The Polícia Judiciária is headed by a National Director, appointed together by the Prime-Minister and the Minister of Justice.

Under the National Director, the PJ includes the following organic units:

  • National Directorate;
  • National Directorate services:
    • Judicial Police School,
    • Technological Prevention and Support Unit,
    • Financial Information Unit,
    • Asset Recovery Office,
    • Planning, Technical Assessment and Documentation Unit;
  • National units:
    • National Counter-Terrorism Unit
    • National Anti-Corruption Unit,
    • National Anti-Drug Trafficking Unit;
    • National Unit for Cybercrime Fighting and Technological Criminality;
  • Territorial units:
  • Regional units:
    • Funchal Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Ponta Delgada Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Braga Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Aveiro Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Guarda Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Leiria Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Setúbal Criminal Investigation Department,
    • Portimão Criminal Investigation Department;
  • Local units:
    • Vila Real Criminal Investigation Local Unit,
    • Évora Criminal Investigation Local Unit;
  • Criminal investigation Support units:
    • Criminal Investigation Intelligence Unit,
    • International Cooperation Unit,
    • Scientific Police Laboratory,
    • Telecommunications and Computer Unit;
  • Support units:
    • Security, Financial and Patrimonial Administration Unit,
    • Human Resources and Public Relations Unit,
    • Financial and Accounting Expertise Unit,
    • Disciplinary and Inspection Unit.


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.


  1. ^ "Polícia Judiciária". Archived from the original on 2015-03-29. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  2. ^ Reis, Paulo (2007-06-03). "Gazeta Digital Arquivo: Sky News: A Lesson on "How to manipulate facts and produce a slanderous documentary, disguised as a news report"". Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  3. ^ "Crianças desaparecidas: linha abriu 31 processos" [Missing children: 31 Cases opened]. Archived from the original on 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  4. ^ "Crianças desaparecidas: PJ recebeu quase 200 participações em 2009 mas os casos têm sido resolvidos a 100%". 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2015-05-06.

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