The Guardia Civil is the first national law enforcement agency established in Spain. It was founded in 1844, early in the reign of Queen Isabel II of Spain, and with consensus among the different political forces.
The organization of this new institution was entrusted to the Field Marshal Mr. Francisco Javier Girón y Ezpeleta, 2nd Duke of Ahumada, who proposed the Government to establish an Infantry & Cavalry Force devoted to ‘the maintenance of law and order, and to assisting in law enforcement tasks as requested’. In this way, he was trying to fight the high level of insecurity inrural areas caused by banditry, and to set up a national law enforcement agency.
The territorial expansion allowed this body to deploy its units throughout the national territory, reaching places where the Administration had not been present before. With the passing of time, and due to its closeness to the people, it has become an extremely valuable source of information for the State.
Since its foundation, and up to now, the Guardia Civil has been undergoing constant changes that have allowed it to adapt to new situations, always with countless efforts aimed at modernization. This fact, together with its closeness to the people, has resulted in its being nowadays one of the most appreciated institutions by the Spanish society.
Apart from the constant adaptation and modernization of Guardia Civil we should also mention that it has progressively assumed new responsibilities, such as counterterrorism, road traffic control, protection of coasts, borders and territorial waters, environmental protection, or mountain rescue.
The Road Traffic Group (Agrupación de Tráfico) had the honour to become the flagship of the institution and to be its first specialised unit, paving the way for others that started appearing in the 1960s and the early 1970s, always with the aim of rendering a quality service to the citizens and provide humanitarian aid to whoever might need it.
Among these specialized units we could mention the Maritime Service, the Mountain Rescue Service, Air Service, the EOD Service, GAR (Early Intervention Group), or the Environmental Protection Service (SEPRONA).
Nowadays Guardia Civil is an armed institution of military nature that is part of the National Law Enforcement Agencies. As such, the 1978 Spanish Constitution establishes as its main mission protecting the free exercise of the rights and freedoms of Spaniards and ensuring public security, always under the authority of the Spanish Government.