The PSP was formed in 1867. Its overall responsibilities are ensuring democratic legality, safeguarding internal security and the rights of its citizens in accordance with the constitution and laws of Portugal. The PSP is commanded by a National Director responsible to the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Its duties, defined in law, are diverse and include protection of key points, diplomatic protection, security of major events, traffic policing, private security and firearms licensing, crime prevention, investigation of crime, airport security and protection of persons and property within its areas of remit. It is responsible for the policing of all the airports as well are the larger cities.

The National Directorate comprises:
  • The National Director;
  • The National Deputy Directors;
  • The Superior Police Council, the Board of Ethics and Discipline and the Superior Board of Health;
  • The Inspectorate;
  • The organic operations and security units, human resources and logistics and finance.

Work also depending on the national director, the Department of General Support and services for the areas of studies and planning, legal advice, ethics and discipline, public affairs and religious assistance.

In addition to a number of specialized units in its headquarters, the structure comprises two Regional Commands (Madeira and Azores) and 18 districts throughout the country.

The PSP is also responsible for the licensing, monitoring and inspection of private security companies. The list of entities qualified to carry out the private security activity is available in SIGESP – Integrated Private Security Management, which you can access here

Another PSP responsibility is the licensing, supervision and controlling the manufacture, storage, marketing, use and transportation of weapons, ammunition and explosives and similar substances that do not belong to or are destined for the armed forces and other forces and security services, without prejudice to the powers of monitoring legally committed to other entities. Contact details of the Department of Arms and Explosives of the PSP responsible for this can be found on this page.

The PSP also run an innovative child safety program named: “Astou Acqui – I’m Here” designed to help reunite missing children with their parents and is very popular with tourists. Details in the attachment below.