State police

Last updated
Queensland Police Service officers patrolling in Brisbane Police officers of Queensland Police Service, on the beat, in Brisbane Australia.jpg
Queensland Police Service officers patrolling in Brisbane
SEK members of the State Police of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany during an exercise SEK-Schnellboot (Schlauchboot) (10585073613).jpg
SEK members of the State Police of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany during an exercise

State police,provincial police, or regional police are a type of sub-national territorial police force found in nations organized as federations, typically in North America, South Asia, and Oceania. These forces typically have jurisdiction over the relevant sub-national jurisdiction, and may cooperate in law enforcement activities with municipal or national police where either exist.



In Argentina, as a federal country, each province has its own independent police force and its responsible of its funding, training and equipment. State police agencies are responsible of all the territory of a determinate state. There is almost no municipal/local law enforcement in Argentina, and if there is, they are generally limited to traffic duties.


Each state of Australia has its own state police force. Municipalities do not have police forces and it is left to the state forces to police all geographic areas within their respective states. Australia does have a national police force, the Australian Federal Police, whose role is to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, both criminal law and civil law, as well as to protect the interests of the Commonwealth, both domestically and internationally. The AFP does, however, provide 'state' policing for the Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory, and Australia's other external territories such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. [1] Prior to the Federation of Australia, each Colony within Australia had numerous police forces, but these were largely amalgamated well before Federation.


Each state in Brazil has two state police forces:

Civil Police — the State criminal investigative police.
Military Police — they are uniformed gendarmerie forces fulfilling roles as State police. They are a reserve branch of the Brazilian armed forces [2] but do not perform regular Military Police duties as they are performed by service police such as the Army Police, etc.


Surete du Quebec cruiser SQ B-W Ford PIU.jpg
Sûreté du Québec cruiser

Law enforcement in Canada operates at the federal, provincial, and local levels. Three provinces of Canada have a dedicated police force, with jurisdiction over some or all of the province:

The federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provides provincial-level policing in the remaining land area of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the remaining seven provinces and three territories. The RCMP began being contracted to provide provincial policing in the late 1920s as provincial police forces were disbanded and their duties contracted out to provincial divisions of the RCMP. The last provincial police force to be disbanded, the British Columbia Provincial Police, existed from the mid-19th century until its jurisdiction was transferred to RCMP "E" Division on August 15, 1950.

Provinces which have disbanded their provincial police may retain other provincial law enforcement agencies, such as sheriff services or conservation officers. For example, the Alberta Sheriffs Branch is responsible for traffic enforcement in Alberta together with the RCMP, despite not being a true police force.


Hamburg Police motorcycle officer Hamburg Police BMW R 1250 RT at Hamburg Marathon 2019 01.jpg
Hamburg Police motorcycle officer

The Landespolizei (or LaPo) is a term used in the Federal Republic of Germany to denote the law enforcement services that perform law enforcement duties in the States of Germany. The German federal constitution leaves the majority of law enforcement responsibilities to the 16 states of the country.

There also are several auxiliary state police forces.


The 'Jaguar' Team of the Delhi Police Delhi Police Jaguar Team Central District.jpg
The 'Jaguar' Team of the Delhi Police

Each state and union territory has a state police force and its own distinct State Police Services, headed by the Commissioner of Police (State) or Director General of Police (DGP) who is an Indian Police Service officer. The IPS is not a law enforcement agency in its own right; rather it is the body to which all senior police officers of all states belong regardless of the agency for whom they work. The state police is responsible for maintaining law and order in townships of the state and the rural areas.

List of Indian Police Forces
SrNoState/Union TerritoryPolice EmblemPolice Force
1 Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Union Territory) Andaman Nicobar Islands Police
2 Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Police
3 Arunachal Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh Police
4 Assam Assam Police
5 Bihar Bihar Police
6Chandigarh (Union Territory) Chandigarh Police
7Chhattisgarh Chhattisgarh Police
8Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu Police
9Delhi Delhi Police
10Goa Goa Police
11Gujarat Gujarat Police
12Haryana Haryana Police
13Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Police
14Jammu and Kashmir (Union Territory) Jammu and Kashmir Police
15Jharkhand Jharkhand Police
16Karnataka Seal of Karnataka.png Karnataka Police
17Kerala Kerala Police
18Ladakh (Union Territory) Ladakh Police
19Lakshadweep (Union Territory) Lakshadweep Police
20Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh Police
21Maharashtra Maharashtra Police
22Manipur Manipur Police
23Meghalaya Meghalaya Police
24Mizoram Mizoram Police
25Nagaland Nagaland Police
26Odisha Odisha Police
27Puducherry Puducherry Police
28Punjab Punjab Police
29Rajasthan Rajasthan Police
30Sikkim Sikkim Police
31Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu Police
32Telangana Telangana Police
33Tripura Tripura Police
34Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh Police
35Uttarakhand Uttarakhand Police
36West Bengal West Bengal Police


Each of the provinces of Indonesia have their own "Regional Police" (Indonesian : Kepolisian Daerah), which is under the surveillance of the central National Police. Until 1984, the Regional Polices were called in military-style "Police Regional Command" (Indonesian : Komando Daerah Kepolisian). Each regional police is responsible for law enforcement in the said province and is commanded by a brigadier (1-star) or inspector general (2-star).

Bali and Nusa Tenggara
Maluku and North Maluku


Dodge Charger of the Yucatan State Police Dodge Charger 2014 SSP Yucatan.JPG
Dodge Charger of the Yucatán State Police

Each of the 31 states of Mexico maintains a separate law enforcement agency or Policía Estatal. Each of these state forces is tasked with the protection of their citizens, keeping local order and combating insecurity and drug trafficking. Certain states including Veracruz and Nuevo León have a new model of police force designated as Civilian Forces (Fuerza Civil).


In Spain there are autonomous police forces in four autonomous communities (Ertzainas in the Basque Country, Mossos d'Esquadra in Catalonia, Policía Foral in Navarre and Policía Canaria in the Canary Islands).

United States

North Carolina State Highway Patrol cruiser on I-85 in 2008 North Carolina State Trooper on I-85.jpg
North Carolina State Highway Patrol cruiser on I-85 in 2008

In the United States, state police (also termed highway patrol, state patrol, or state highway patrol) are a police body unique to 49 of the U.S. states, having statewide authority to conduct law enforcement activities and criminal investigations. Hawaii, being a widely dispersed archipelago, has four separate county-based police agencies, rather than a single statewide police agency.

In general, these police agencies perform functions outside the jurisdiction of the county sheriff, such as enforcing traffic laws on state highways and interstate expressways, overseeing the security of the state capitol complex, protecting the governor, training new officers for local police forces too small to operate an academy, providing technological and scientific services, supporting local police and helping to coordinate multi-jurisdictional task force activity in serious or complicated cases in those states that grant full police powers statewide. A general trend has been to bring all of these agencies under a state Department of Public Safety. Additionally, they may serve under different state departments such as the highway patrol under the state Department of Transportation and the marine patrol under the state Department of Natural Resources.

Twenty-two U.S. states use the term "State Police", fifteen use the term "Highway Patrol", seven use the term "State Patrol", and three use the term "State Highway Patrol", while Alaska's agency is the "Division of Alaska State Troopers". The term "highway patrol" tends to be more common in the southeast and mountain west states.

In addition, all the territories of the United States have a police force with similar territory-wide authority:

See also

Related Research Articles

A highway patrol is either a police unit created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways, or a detail within an existing local or regional police agency that is primarily concerned with such duties. They are also referred to in many countries as traffic police, although in other countries this term is more commonly used to refer to foot officers on point duty who control traffic at junctions.

Law enforcement in Australia Overview of law enforcement in Australia

Law enforcement in Australia is one of the three major components of the country's justice system, along with courts and corrections. Law enforcement officers are employed by all three levels of government – federal, state/territory, and local.

Military Police of São Paulo State Brazilian state police

The Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo is a law enforcement agency of the military kind in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. It is the largest state police force in the country, with over 100,000 personnel in its ranks, distributed across several battalions all over the state as well as within the Greater São Paulo region which itself comprises 40 cities and towns.

Federal Police of Brazil

The Federal Police of Brazil is a federal law enforcement agency of Brazil and one of the three national police forces. The other two are the Federal Highway Police, and the National Force. From 1944 to 1967 it was called the Federal Public Safety Department.

Military Police (Brazil) State police force of Brazil

Military Police are the preventive state police of the states and of the Federal District of Brazil. The Military Police units are the main ostensive police force at the state level and are responsible for policing and maintaining the public order. Their formations, rules and uniforms vary depending on the state. Investigative work and forensics are undertaken by the Civil Police of each state.

Police ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in police organizations. The rank system defines authority and responsibility in a police organization. Police ranks, dependent on country, are similar to military ranks in function and design due to policing in many countries developing from military organizations and operations, such as in western Europe, former Soviet countries, and English-speaking countries. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms.

Law enforcement in Canada Overview of law enforcement in Canada

Law enforcement in Canada consists of public-sector police forces that are associated with and commissioned to the three levels of government: municipal, provincial, and federal. In addition, many First Nations reserves have their own police forces established through agreements between the governing native band, province and the federal government. Most urban areas have been given the authority by the provinces to maintain their own police forces. Seven of Canada's provinces and all three territories, in turn, contract out their provincial or territorial law-enforcement responsibilities to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police force, which is commissioned to the federal level of government; the other three maintain provincial police forces, although one also partially contracts out to the RCMP. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is the second largest law enforcement agency in Canada. The CBSA facilitates the flow of legitimate travellers and trade. The agency also enforces more than 90 acts and regulations. Since December 2003, the CBSA has been an integral part of the Public Safety Portfolio. The president of the CBSA reports directly to the Minister of Public Safety Canada and controls and manages all matters relating to the agency

Law enforcement in Brazil Overview of law enforcement in Brazil

In Brazil, the Federal Constitution establishes eight law enforcement institutions - seven titulars and one auxiliar. The titular institutions are: the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Police, the Federal Railway Police, the Federal Penal Police, the State Military Police and Fire Brigade, the State Civil Police and the State Penal Police. Of these, the first four are affiliated to federal authorities and the latter three are subordinated to state governments. These public safety institutions are part of the Executive branch of either federal or state government. Apart from these eight institutions, there are others which affiliate to municipal authorities: the Municipal Guards. According to Minister Alexandre de Moraes of the Supreme Federal Court, "...the Municipal Guards are inserted in public safety as the auxiliary and related body of public security force..." Federal law 13,022 gave them de facto and de jure police attributions.

A territorial police force is a police service that is responsible for an area defined by sub-national boundaries, distinguished from other police services which deal with the entire country or a type of crime. In countries organized as federations, police responsible for individual sub-national jurisdictions are typically called state or provincial police.

Civil Police (Brazil)

In Brazil, the Civil Police is the name of the investigative state police forces.

Airport police

Airport police units are a security police agency assigned to perform law enforcement functions at airports. They provide a wide range of law enforcement duties and responsibilities including patrol, investigation, traffic flow management, and control and response to airport emergencies. Airport police provide enhanced safety to airport employees, and to passengers. Officers can be found at security gates, throughout the terminal area, and around the airport’s perimeter.

Law enforcement by country

In many countries, particularly those with a federal system of government, there may be several law enforcement agencies, police or police-like organizations, each serving different levels of government and enforcing different subsets of the applicable law.

National Public Security Force Police in Brazil

The National Public Security Force was created in 2004 and is headquartered in Brasília, in the Federal District, as a joint cooperation of various Brazilian Public Safety forces, co-ordinated by the National Secretariat of Public Security, of the Ministry of Justice. It is an agency that was created during the administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a concept developed by then Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos.

Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State Military police force of the state of Rio de Janeiro

The Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State (PMERJ) like other military polices in Brazil is a reserve and ancillary force of the Brazilian Army, and part of the System of Public Security and Brazilian Social Protection. Its members are called "state military" personnel.

A law enforcement agency (LEA), in American English, is any government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.

Military Police of Acre State Auxilary police of the Brazilian state of Acre

The Military Police of Acre State are the preventive police force of the state of Acre. In Brazil, Military Police are reserve and ancillary forces of the Brazilian Army, and part of the System of Public Security and Brazilian Social Protection. Its members are called "State Military" person.


  1. "AFP across the world". 26 February 2016.
  2. "Brazilian Laws - the Federal Constitution - Defense of State and Democratic Institutions".