National Republican Guard (Portugal)

Guarda Nacional Republicana
Republican National Guard
COA pt garde nationale républicaine.svg
Coat of Arms of the Guarda Nacional Republicana
Active1801 (renamed 1910) – present
BranchMilitary flag of Portugal.svg Portuguese Armed Forces
Size26,000 employees
Garrison/HQQuartel do Carmo, Lisbon
Motto(s)Pela Lei e Pela Grei
"For the Law and for the People"


DR Congo

  • MONUC 2003–04
  • EUPOL Kinshasa 2005–09


Republic of Macedonia


Ivory Coast







Decorations Officer Order of the Tower and Sword

Grand Cross Order of Christ
Member Order of Aviz
Member Order of Prince Henry
Member Order of Timor-Leste

Member Order of Liberty

The National Republican Guard (Portuguese: Guarda Nacional Republicana) or GNR is the national gendarmerie force of Portugal.

Members of the GNR are military personnel, subject to military law and organisation, unlike the agents of the civilian Public Security Police (PSP).

The GNR is responsible for the preventive police and highway patrol in the countryside and small towns of Mainland Portugal (large urban centers and all the Portuguese islands territory being patrolled by the PSP). At national level, GNR also has duties of customs enforcement, coastal control, nature protection, search and rescue operations and state ceremonial guards of honor.

Since the 2000s, the GNR has provided detachments for participation in international operations in Iraq, East Timor and other theatres.


Petro Poroshenko in Portugal 02.jpg

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.[1] 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 Coastal Control Unit patrol boat.
GNR cavalry patrol with 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 Internal Administration and, for military affairs, to the Ministry of National Defence.

Until 2007, the GNR maintained a traditional organization, whose bases still followed the organizational structure established in the early 20th century. This organization included: territorial units (four territorial brigades, that were designated "battalions" until 1993), special units (the Fiscal and the Traffic Brigades) and reserve units (the Cavalry and the Infantry regiments).[2] The old organization also included a central structure that reflected the command of a military field division, including a military-type staff.

In 2006, the multinational consulting company Accenture made a study, requested by the Government of Portugal, that recommended the change of the organization of the Portuguese security forces, including a radical reorganization of the GNR.[3]

Most of the recommendations regarding GNR were accepted and, in accordance with the Law No. 63/2007 (new Organic Law of the GNR), its traditional structure was replaced by a new and considerably different one, that was 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:

Commad Headquarters and HQ Services, NRG[5][]

Reporting directly to the Commandant-General are the following:

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 junior officer, Sub-detachments – led by junior officers – and posts – led by sergeants. Each territorial command usually includes a traffic detachment (from the former Traffic Brigade) 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:

Special Units[]

Special Units fall directly under the Operations Command (Comando Operacional).[5]


Educational establishment[]


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[]

Cavalry of the Royal Guard of the Police of Lisbon, 1812

The Royal Guard of the Police of Lisbon (Guarda Real da Polícia de Lisboa) 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 Guard was created in Porto. When the transfer of the Portuguese Court to Rio de Janeiro, after the invasion of Portugal by the Napoleonic forces in 1807, a similar Royal Guard of the Police of Rio de Janeiro was created, this being in the origin of the present military police of that state and of the 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 Commandant-General, 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), keeping the same organization. At this time, plans were already being done for the transformation of this Guard into a National Republican Guard, covering all the Portuguese territory.

National Republican Guard, 1911[]

In 1911, the Republican Guard was transformed in the National Republican Guard (GNR): 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).

Awards and Decorations[]

1921 – Awarded an exceptional move, the 3rd Battalion of the Fiscal Guard degree of Officer of the Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit (by the action of this Battalion in Republican Revolt January 31, 1891, in the city. Porto).
1934Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit to the National Guard.
1965 – Grand Cross of the Order of Christ the National Guard.
1984 – Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
1985Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit the Fiscal Guard.
1986 – Honorary Member of the Military Order of Aviz the National Guard.
1988Order of Christ the Fiscal Guard.
1990 – Municipal Merit Medal, gold grade, Mayor of Lisbon, the Fiscal Guard.
1993 – Medal Ensign Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, the Federal Military Police of the Brasilia National Guard.
1994 – Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to the Public Safety Fiscal Guard.
2004 – Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
2005 – Distinguished Service, with palm, the Subassemblies ALFA GNR (mission in Iraq).
2006 – Praise from the President to the Presidential Squadron, Cavalry Regiment of the GNR.
2006 – title of honorary member of the Order of Prince Henry the Symphonic Band of the GNR.
2006 – title of honorary member of the Order of Prince Henry the Cavalry Regiment of the GNR.
2008 – Praise and gold medal for distinguished services, granted by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Units of extinct GNR, namely: Territorial Brigade No. 2, 3, 4 and 5, Brigade Tax, Traffic Brigade, Infantry Regiment. and Cavalry.
2010 – Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
2010 – Title of honorary member of the Order of Prince Henry the National Guard.
2010Order of Timor-Leste National Guard.
2011 – Praise the Minister of Internal Affairs to the National Guard.
2011 – Honorary Member of the Order of Liberty National Guard.



Former GNR highway patrol Porsche.
GNR forest rescue vehicle.

Police services in Portugal have always used a wide range of firearms to equip their personnel. At the start of the 21st century they chose the Glock 19 as the standard Law Enforcement handgun which came only to replace the old Walther PP and P38. Any other handgun in a caliber above .32ACP will remain in service.






Patrol cars


Sport utility vehicles

Vans, trucks and buses

Armoured and water cannon vehicles



See also[]


  1. ^ a b [1] Archived 4 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ No. 2 Brigade (Headquarters in Lisbon, covered 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, included a public order and special operations Battalion and Garrison Companies), Cavalry Regiment (located in Lisbon, included a Horse Group, a Motorized and Armoured Squadron and a Presidential Squadron); 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 Traffic Brigade, a highway patrol (Headquarters in Lisbon, responsible for patrolling the highways, covered all of the continental Portuguese territory);
  3. ^ "Estudo de Racionalização de Estruturas da GNR e da PSP, Relatório Final" (PDF). Accenture / Ministério da Administração Interna. August 2006. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ a b "A Nova Orgânica Da Guarda Nacional Republicana | Operacional". Retrieved 2015-12-14.

External links[]