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Guarda Nacional Republicana
Republican National Guard
COA pt garde nationale républicaine.svg
Coat of Arms of the Guarda Nacional Republicana
Active 1834 (renamed 1910) - present
Country Portugal
Allegiance Portugal
Branch Military flag of Portugal.svg Portuguese Armed Forces
Role Gendarmerie
Garrison/HQ Quartel do Carmo, Lisbon
Motto(s) Pela Lei e Pela Grei
"For the Law and for the People"

The Portuguese National Republican Guard (Portuguese language: Guarda Nacional Republicana, GNR ) is the gendarmerie of Portugal. Members of the GNR are soldiers, who, unlike the agents of the Public Security Police (PSP), are subject to military law and organisation. The GNR is responsible for law enforcement in the countryside and small towns (large urban centers are patrolled by the PSP), and providing a national highway patrol and . There are also two military reserve regiments: an Infantry Regiment and a Cavalry Regiment. The GNR also has ceremonial duties and provides guards of honor.

In the 2000s, the GNR has provided detachments for participation in international operations in Iraq and East Timor. As of 2015, the GNR maintains "Detachment Bravo" in East Timor, comprising about 200 personnel, who perform the task of helping to maintain public order in that former Portuguese colony.


The GNR deploys over 26,000 personnel over 90 percent of Portuguese territory.[1] The GNR are deployed in Bosnia as part of IFOR/SFOR/EUFOR Althea.[2] and 140 GNR were also deployed between 2006 and 2012 in Timor-Leste as part of UNMIT.


Portuguese National Republican Guard (GNR) headquarters at Largo do Carmo, Lisbon, Portugal, since 1868.

GNR cavalry at the changing of the guard of the Presidencial Palace of Belém.

GNR territorial patrol.

GNR Costal Control Unit patrol boat.

GNR cavalry patrol with Lusitano horses, at Praia da Saúde (in English, Beach of Health) Costa da Caparica, next to Almada, and 15 kilometers of the Lisbon city in Portugal.

The National Republican Guard is, for police and operating in peacetime, responsible to the Ministry of Interior and military effects of the Ministry of National Defence. In accordance with the Law No. 63/2007 (new Organic Law of the GNR) the traditional structure of the GNR, which included four regional brigades, the Fiscal Brigade, the Traffic Brigade, the Cavalry and Infantry Regiments,[3] were replaced by a new structure, considerably different implemented in early 2009.[4]

The GNR is commanded by a general officer, with the title of Commandant-General (Comandante-Geral)

The National Republican Guard now includes the following:

Command of the Guard[5]

  • GNR General Headquarters in Largo do Carmo, in Central Lisbon;

Reporting directly to the Commandant-General are the following:

  • Direcção de Justiça e Disciplina (DJD); (Directorate of Justice and Discipline)
  • Divisão de Planeamento Estratégico e Relações Internacionais (DPERI); (Strategic Planning and International Relations Division)
  • Divisão de Comunicação e Relações Públicas (DCRP); (Communications and Public Relations Division).
  • Comando Operacional (CO); Operational Command
  • Comando da Administração dos Recursos internos (CARI); Command of the Administration of Internal Resources
  • Comando da Doutrina e Formação (CDF); Training and Doctrine Command

Territorial Units

The old four-brigade structure was replaced by a system of territorial commands, each covering a district or an autonomous region. Each territorial command - commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel - includes detachments - commanded by majors, captains or also by junior officer, Sub-detachments - led by junior officers - and posts - led by sergeants. Each territorial command usually includes a detachment of transit and a detachment of intervention. The territorial commands of the Azores and Madeira play, essentially, just a coastal monitoring and fiscal actions, respectively, under the functional dependence of the UCC and UAF. The current territorial commands correspond essentially to the previous territorial groups of the old territorial brigades. With the extinction of the territorial brigades by the end of 2008, the territorial commands were placed in direct dependence on the central structure of command of GNR;

The territorial commands are as follows:

  • Azores Territorial Command (Comando Territorial dos Açores)
  • Aveiro Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Aveiro)
  • Beja Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Beja)
  • Braga Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Braga)
  • Bragança Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Bragança)
  • Castelo Branco Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Castelo Branco)
  • Coimbra Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Coimbra)
  • Évora Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Évora)
  • Faro Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Faro)
  • Guarda Territorial Command (Comando Territorial da Guarda)
  • Leiria Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Leiria)
  • Lisbon Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Lisboa)
  • Madeira Territorial Command (Comando Territorial da Madeira)
  • Portalegre Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Portalegre)
  • Porto Territorial Command (Comando Territorial do Porto)
  • Santarém Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Santarém)
  • Setúbal Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Setúbal)
  • Viseu Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Viseu)
  • Viana do Castelo Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Viana do Castelo)
  • Vila Real Territorial Command (Comando Territorial de Vila Real)

Special Units

Special Units fall directly under the Operations Command (Comando Operacional).[6]

  • Coastal Control Unit (Unidade de Controlo Costeiro, UCC) - Essentially a coast guard service, is commanded by a major-general (or a rear-admiral, if a naval officer), is responsible for surveillance and interception at sea and coast, including the operation of the Integrated Surveillance, Command and Control System (SIVICC), distributed along the Portuguese coast. This unit replaced the former Maritime Service of the Fiscal Brigade ;
  • Fiscal Action Unit (Unidade de Ação Fiscal, UAF) - commanded by a colonel, is responsible for carrying out the mission of taxation, tax and customs attributed to the GNR. It succeeded the previous Fiscal Brigade;
  • National Transit Unit (Unidade Nacional de Trânsito, UNT) - the national Highway Patrol, is commanded by a colonel, is responsible for standardization of procedures and training under the supervision of traffic. This unit replaced the central structure of the former Traffic Brigade, losing its territorial subunits transit, which went to the dependence of the various command authorities;
  • Security and State Honor Unit (Unidade de Segurança e Honras de Estado, USHE) - commanded by a major-general, is responsible for tasks of representation and security of the organs of sovereignty. Includes the Presidential Squadron (Esquadrão Presidencial), Horse Band (Charanga a Cavalo), the Guard Marching Band (Banda da Guarda), the State Honors and Security Group (Grupo de Segurança e Honras de Estado). This unit replaced the old Regimento de Cavalaria (Cavalry Regiment) and part of the old Regimento de Infantaria (Infantry Regiment);
  • Intervention Unit (Unidade de Intervenção, UI) - commanded by a major-general, is responsible for the missions of maintaining and restoring public order, management of critical incidents, tactical operations, security of sensitive installations, inactivation of explosives, protection and relief and projection of forces for international missions. Includes the Public Order Intervention Group (Grupo de Intervenção de Ordem Pública, GIOP), the Special Operations Company (Companhia de Operações Especiais, COE), the Intervention Group for Protection and Rescue (Grupo de Intervenção de Proteção e Socorro, GIPS), the Canine Operational Group (Grupo Operacional Cinotécnico), the Center for Ordnance Disposal and Underground Security (Centro de Inativação de Explosivos e Segurança em Subsolo, CIESS) and the International Missions Force Training and Readiness Centre (Centro de Treino e Aprontamento de Força para Missões Internacionais). This unit was organized with several subunits of the former Infantry Regiment.


  • Serviço de Protecção da Natureza e do Ambiente- SEPNA (Nature and Environment Protection Service)

Educational establishment

  • School of the Guard School (Escola da Guarda, EG) - commanded by a major-general, is responsible for technical and professional training of military personnel of the GNR. Includes training centers in Figueira da Foz (CFFF) and Portalegre (CFP).


The National Republican Guard is the direct descendant of the Royal Police Guard created in the beginning of the 19th century.

Royal Guard of the Police, 1801

The Lisbon's "Royal Guard of the Police" (Guarda Real da Polícia) was created in 1801 by Prince Regent John on the initiative of the Intendant-General of the Police of the Court and the Kingdom, Pina Manique. It took as a model the French Gendarmerie (1791). Following the creation of the Lisbon's Royal Guard of the Police, a similar Royal Guard of the Police was created for Porto and another for Rio de Janeiro. The latter is in the origin of the present Military Police of Rio de Janeiro and other member states of Brazil.

Municipal Guard, 1834

At the end of May, 1834, as a result of the Civil War, King Peter IV, assuming the regency in name of his daughter Queen Mary II, disbanded the Royal Police Guard in Lisbon and Porto, creating the "Municipal Guards" of Lisbon and Porto on the basis of similar conditions. In 1868 both of the Guards were put under a unified General Command, installed in the Carmo Barracks in Lisbon, which today still is the Headquarters of the GNR. The Municipal Guard was considered part of the Army, but was dependent on the Ministry of Internal Affairs for all matters regarding public security.

Republican Guard, 1910

After the 5 October 1910 revolution, which substituted the Constitutional Monarchy with the Republic, the new regime changed the name of the Municipal Guard to the Republican Guard (Guarda Republicana).

National Republican Guard, 1911

In 1911, the name changed to National Republican Guard: this was to be a security force consisting of military personnel organised in a special corps of troops depending, in peace time, on the Ministry of Internal Administration, for the purpose of conscription, administration and execution with regards to its mission, and the Ministry of the National Defense for the purpose of uniformization and normalization of the military doctrine, as well as for its armament and equipment. In case of war or situation of crisis, the forces of National Republican Guard will, in terms of the respective laws and for operational effect, be subordinated to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In 1993 the National Republican Guard absorbed the independent Fiscal Guard (Guarda Fiscal) that became the Fiscal Brigade of the GNR. In 2006 a new GNR unit was created with the purpose of firefighting and was named GIPS.

A small contingent of GNR forces were deployed in Timor-Leste in 2006 (see video below).


Former GNR highway patrol Porsche.

GNR forest rescue vehicle.

The police in Portugal always used a wide range of firearms to equip their personnel. At the start of the 21st century they choose Glock 19 as the standard Law Enforcement handgun which came only to replace the old Walther PP. Any other handgun in a caliber above .32ACP will remain in service.


  • FN Browning HP (9x19mm Parabellum);
  • Beretta Px4 Storm (9x19mm Parabellum);
  • Glock 17 /19 in 9x19mm Parabellum (The G19 is the standard issued firearm);
  • Various Heckler and Koch pistols (P9S、VP70M 、USP Compact、P30) in 9x19mm Parabellum;
  • Various SIG pistols (GSR、P220、P226、SP2022) in 9x19mm Parabellum (except for the GSR which is chambered in the .45 ACP);
  • Various Walther pistols (PP、P5、P88、P99)in 9x19mm Parabellum (except for the PP which is chambered in the .32 ACP and replaced by the G19);




See also

  • Portugal


  3. No. 2 Brigade (Headquarters in Lisbon, covers the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region), No. 3 Brigade (Évora, Southern Region), No. 4 Brigade (Porto, Northern Region), No. 5 Brigade (Coimbra, Central Region); Infantry Regiment (located in Lisbon, includes a public order and special operations Battalion and Garrison Companies), Cavalry Regiment (located in Lisbon, includes a Horse Group, a Motorized and Armoured Squadron and a Presidential Guard); Fiscal Brigade (Headquarters in Lisbon, responsible for the customs and border patrol, includes a maritime service and covers all of the Portuguese territory, including Azores and Madeira), and the Brigada de Trânsito, a Highway patrol (Headquarters in Lisbon, responsible for patrolling the highways, covers all of the continental Portuguese territory);

External links

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