The Police

Judicial police organs play a significant role, assisting judges and the Public Ministry in facilitating the smooth progress of criminal proceedings.

Firstly, whenever the police become aware of criminal activities through received reports or witness the commission of a crime, they have a duty to act. Even before any formal communication is made, if there's a risk of losing crucial evidence for the case, the police must take all appropriate measures to preserve it and initiate a police inquiry. They must carry out urgent and necessary actions to prevent the destruction or loss of evidence, like immediately seizing a vehicle involved in a homicide that a suspect might want to hide or destroy to eliminate any traces left.

Subsequently, the police are responsible for conducting and overseeing investigations under the supervision of the Public Ministry. The police collect evidence, examine the crime scene, interview victims, suspects, and witnesses, acquire documents, seek expert assistance, and conduct searches and wiretaps, among other activities. Some of these actions must be authorised by a judge after consulting the Public Ministry, but most of the time, the police handle evidence collection. The Public Ministry can request the inquiry whenever necessary to assess the state of the investigation, and the records must be submitted every 30 days to determine whether there is a need to agree on extending the timeframe for concluding the investigation. Unjustifiably prolonging an investigation to the detriment of the person under investigation or scrutiny constitutes an abuse of authority (link).

During the investigation, if victims want to provide more information or inquire about the process, they should contact the police officer in charge or the justice prosecutor overseeing the investigations. If victims are threatened, intimidated, or have concerns about their safety, they should report this situation to the police authorities.

Typically, the Judicial Police (civil police) conduct crime investigations. The military police do not have the authority to investigate crimes, focusing primarily on prevention. They can arrest individuals caught in the act of committing a crime and hand them over to the police authority, taking measures to preserve the crime scene until experts arrive.

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