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The Polícia Judiciária (PJ, ) is the main police branch of criminal investigation in Portugalmarker, dedicated to fighting criminality, organized crime, terrorism, drugs, corruption and financial crimes. It is integrated into the Ministério da Justiça, under the supervision of the Ministério Público.


The present Polícia Judiciária originates from the Secção de Polícia Judiciária from the old Polícia Cívica. The force was founded on 2 July 1867, during the reign of Luís I of Portugal, under the name Polícia Civil. On 20 October 1945, the Polícia de Investigação Criminal changed its name to Polícia Judiciária.


The PJ is directed by a Director Nacional (National Director), Directores Regionais (Regional Directors) and has several other structures. There are local branches in several Portuguese cities across the country.


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 corruption, burglary, robbery, forgery and other crimes.

In 2007, the Polícia Judiciária dealt with an internationally notorious case which occurred in the tourist region of the Algarve. The disappearance of the three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann came into the international media spotlight after wide and long-lasting media coverage by the British media, including Sky News and BBC World. The Polícia Judiciária has a rate of success of 77.43% in finding missing children, including abductions and runaway children, but Madeleine McCann remains missing.


  1. Sky News: A Lesson on “How to manipulate facts and produce a slanderous documentary, disguised as a news report”
  2. Crianças desaparecidas: linha abriu 31 processos

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