The Most Heavily Policed Countries in the World

The presence of cops can both be reassuring and scary. While some may feel more comfortable with the sight of policemen everywhere, others will wonder why a lot of them are needed in the first place.

The presence of cops can both be reassuring and scary. While some may feel more comfortable with the sight of policemen everywhere, others will wonder why a lot of them are needed in the first place. It may help prevent some crime, but it can also have the chilling effect of someone in authority always looking over your shoulder. It may make people feel protected and secured, but it also feels Orwellian with Big Brother always hovering over you.

Singapore does not have much police presence, but it is one of the safest places in the world. Other countries, however, have a much heavier presence of cops on its streets. Here is a list of the top 10 most heavily policed countries in the world based on the number of police personnel for every 100,000 population.

10 Czech Republic – 393.8

The Czech Republic has the Policie CR as its main law enforcement agency. It is in charge of making arrests, investigating crimes, ensuring safety in the streets and highways, as well as other normal tasks associated to the police. The Policejni Prezident directs its operation and administration, and usually has the rank of either a general or colonel. The officers are ranked in the same way as the military. The country also has the Mestska Policie, or city police, that is funded locally. Mestska Policie cannot make arrests and can only handle simple tasks like traffic enforcement.

9 Slovakia – 394

Slovakia has a highly segmented police force. Enforcement is divided among different ministries, including the Ministries, of Justice, Interior, Traffic, Finance and Defense. Local governments also have some police force. Even the Slovak Secret Service, one of the country’s four secret services, has some police power, especially in the areas of organized crime and computer crime. There are also voluntary police forces.

8 Bulgaria – 398.1

Police power in Bulgaria falls under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior. It has a National Police Service, which is responsible for battling general crime and supporting other law enforcement groups; the Central Office for Combating Organized Crime, which helps collect information about national and international crimes that involve organized groups; and the National Investigative Service, which is part of the judiciary and prepares support evidence in cases. Additionally, the country also has a Border Police and the National Gendarmerie for anti-terrorist activities.

7 Algeria – 425.7

Cops in Algeria are divided into three main groups. These are the Gendarmerie Nationale, which is under the Ministry of Defense and is active in remote and rural areas; Surete Nationale, which polices the urban areas; and the Municipal Guards, which is an auxiliary force of law enforcement and helps protect the villages.

6 Kazakhstan – 444.8

Kazakhstan’s law enforcement setup has not changed much since the days when the country was still part of the Soviet Union. The police force is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Intelligence gathering, on the other hand, falls under the responsibility of the National Security Committee, while the Procurator General’s office is the one in charge of the investigation. Unlike most other countries, cops in this country are allowed to make use of electronic surveillance equipment that is considered as invasive in other societies. Police agencies in the country work closely with those of other former members of the Soviet Union, including Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

5 Hong Kong – 450.7

The Hong Kong Police Force is the main agency behind law enforcement in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Its head reports to the Secretary for Security. It gets help in law enforcement from other agencies like the Customs and Excise Department, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and the Immigration Department. Other government departments are in charge of minor duties, like anti-smoking drives and the regulation of hawkers.

4 Portugal – 454.2

In Portugal, the police are divided into three main groupings. These are the Guarda Nacional Republicana, or the National Republican Guard, which works in rural areas and acts as the fiscal guard and highway patrol; the Policia de Seguranca Publica, or the Public Security Police, which works in the urban and other larger areas; and the Policia Judiciaria, or the Judicial Police, which is under the Public Ministry and is tasked with the investigation of criminal cases.

3 Italy – 467.2

Italy has several police forces, divided into those serving at the national and the local levels. The national police consists of the Polizia di Stato, the civil national police of the country; Guardia di Finanza, the financial guards under the Ministry of Economy and Finance; Arma dei Carabinieri, a military corps with police duties; Polizia Penitenziaria, or the prison guards; and the Corpo Forestale dello Stato, or the forest and park police. These forces may sometimes be combined to fight organized crime. Additionally, Italy also has a provincial police and municipal police.

2 Turkey – 474.8

Turkey has several different agencies engaged in law enforcement. The main agency is the Turkish National Police, which is responsible for law enforcement in the cities and special locations, like the airports. It also has a traffic police under it. There are also the Gendarmerie, which are trained and supplied by the Turkish Army; Village Guard, which is voluntary and performs auxiliary duties; Military Police, which handles military crimes and security; and Intelligence, which actually has several agencies, like the National Intelligence Organization. The intelligence units are coordinated by the undersecretariat of Public Order and Security.

1 Russia – 564.6

Russia’s central law enforcement body is simply called The Police. It replaced the police service called the Militsiya in 2011, and it operates under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Administration is divided into three main services, namely the Criminal Police Service, Public Security Service and Logistical Service. It also has several independent divisions, like the secretariat, internal affairs, internal troops, forensic expertise, special operations and technical actions, special investigations, legal office, mobilization training, and a central bureau that acts as the coordinator with the Interpol.

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The Most Heavily Policed Countries in the World