Venezuela has various state, metropolitan and municipal
police forces, which together employ more than 18,000 people. The metropolitan
police force of Caracas alone numbers over 9,000.
Throughout the country are police checkpoints (alcabalas), which were
originally introduced in the colonial era to serve as tax-collecting points for
the Spanish. They are manned by the National Guard or the Police and are common
on the roads outside cities. Sometimes, traffic is stopped and ID and document
checks carried out. By law, you must carry your passport and tarjeta de ingreso
(entry-card) at all times. The latter is issued on arrival in Venezuela. Approach
the Alcabalas slowly and stop if asked. These checkpoints may appear rather
intimidating, but are an everyday sight for road users and you will soon get
used to them.
In the event of the theft or loss of your passport, contact the police as
soon as possible to make a report (denuncia). You will be given a copy
of the report, which acts as temporary ID and is needed for insurance claims.
Policía Técnica Judicial (PTJ, pronounced pay-tay-hota) is a
criminal police force under the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for crime
investigation (including passport theft, etc). They wear black uniforms or plain
(National Guard) is a paramilitary force run by the Ministry
of Defense to provide national security within the country
and at its frontiers. They are present at the alcabalas
and border checkpoints, and patrol the coast. They are recognizable
by their green camouflage uniforms.
Policía Metropolitana (Metropolitan Police) wear blue
uniforms and patrol the cities to keep the peace. Policía
Municipal (Municipal Police) have a similar role and
patrol the districts. Their uniform is light brown.
Vigilancia de Transito (Transport Police) is an organization
run by the Ministry of the Interior. They patrol highways
in white vehicles and wear brown uniforms.
DISIP (Dirección de los Servicios de Inteligencia
y Prevención, Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention
Services) is an internal security force under the Ministry
of the Interior. They dress either in black uniforms or
plain clothes and drive yellow and black cars.