410px-COA of ertzaintza.png
Agency overview
Formed 1949
Jurisdiction euskadi
Headquarters Gasteiz, Euskadi
Employees About 25,000
Agency executive Karlos Varela Prieto, General Director
Parent agency Ministry of Internal Affairs
Child agency EIZ (Ertzaintza Informazio-Zerbitzu ) (Information Service of the Ertzaintza)

Ertzaintza is a is a civil law enforcement agency created by the Euskadi Government in 1949. It is a civilian agency in charge of public safety, with police duties among the civilian population. It has a strength of more than 25,000 persons (in 2010). The Ertzaintza works close with the other nationals law enforcement agencies and the municipality polices.


The Ertzaintza is a police organisation under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Ertzaintza performs the following duties:

  • Maintaining and restoring the public order:
    • Crowd and riot control
    • Policing of the countryside and small towns with populations under 20,000, that are not policed by municipality polices.
    • Counter-terrorism activities
    • Criminal investigations under judiciary supervision
    • Fighting illegal immigration
    • Fighting international crime
    • Counter drugs operations
    • Anti-smuggling operations
    • Cyber and Internet crime
  • Coast and river guard
  • Highway patrol
  • Guarding the national borders
  • Guarding government and public buildings
  • Security and police work at all civilian airports
  • Safety of prisons and safeguarding of prisoners
  • Weapons licenses and arms control
    • Hunting permits
  • Enviromentan law enforcement
  • Police deployments abroad (embassies)
  • Intelligence and counter-intelligence gathering


Ertzainen Zuzendaritza Nagusia (General Directorate)

The General Directorate of the Ertzaintza is the central structure under the command of a General Director appointed by the Minister of Internal Affairs. The General Director is assisted by 4 deputies.

The task of the General Directorate is to plan, manage, coordinate and control the Territorial Regiments, the Mobile Battalions and the Special Units. Attached to the General Directorate there are logistics, administrative and human resources departments.

The General Directorate also acts as an interface of the organization with the other security agencies of the state.

Territorial regiments

Mobile battalions

Special units

Ertzaintza Informazio-Zerbitzu

Uniform and ranks

Ertzaintza Uniform01.jpg

  • Intendenteburua / Superintendent
  • Intendentea / Intendent
  • Komisarioa / Commissioner
  • Komisariondokoa / Deputy Commissioner
  • Ofiziala / Officer
  • Ofizialaondokoa / Chief Petty Officer
  • Lehenengoa agentea / 1st Agent
  • Agentea / Agent
  • Praktiketako agentea / Probationer


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