Unfortunately, crime exists and although we would like to believe that life in Spain is devoid of such experiences, the reality is that criminal acts do occur here as they do anywhere else in the world.
Whether it's having your handbag stolen, a theft from your car or maybe you need to report a crime you may have witnessed, it's important that you understand the process of filing a police report here in Spain.
What is a Denuncia?
A Denuncia is simply a private statement you make to law enforcement officers in Spain to report a criminal act by either an individual, company or other legal entity. A denuncia may also be served upon a person by the Guardia Civil or other legal authority in Spain.
There are two types of denuncia, which are:-
In nearly all cases you will be filing a denuncia penales report.
When Should I Submit A Denuncia?
Fortunately, you don't need to be an expert in Spanish law or speak to a lawyer in order to file a denuncia.
If you feel that you've been a victim of a crime or even if you've witnessed what you believe to be a crime, you can file a report. You can even file a denuncia if you have found an item of lost property.
The instances in which you should report a crime or file a denuncia are:-
How Can I File A Denuncia Police Report?
You have three ways in which you can file a report. These are:-
If filing a report in person, you may need to take a translator with you if your Spanish is not up to speed.
You will need to present a form of identification such as a passport, NIE or DNI and will also need any documentary evidence that you may have to support your claim.
Important: If you have been a victim of a violent or sexual crime, you will need to do this in person at the police station as opposed to via telephone or online. This is also the case if the perpetrator is known to you.
Denuncias made in person are given priority over those submitted online or over the phone.
Note that many Spanish police stations will not have a translator present so if you are making a denuncia in person you will need to make sure you speak sufficient Spanish or go with someone who does.
What Happens After I Have Submitted A Report?
When completing the online denuncia form, you will be asked to select your nearest Comisaria police station and once completed will be provided with a reference number. You will then need to visit the specified police station within 48 hours to check and sign the denuncia at which point it will become official.
If you do not do this, the denuncia will not officially exist!
It is especially important to do this for insurance purposes as most insurance companies will require proof that a theft has occurred before you can make a claim.
Receiving a Denuncia
There may come a time when you receive a denuncia against you. This can be for almost any reason. It could be that a neighbour wishes to complain that you have been playing your music too loud or it may be something more official.
In most cases though you will not have anything to worry about. Issuing denuncias are common practice in Spain and to a degree, abused.
You will usually receive a denuncia in writing from the local town hall or police station and will have a specific amount of time in which to respond, which is usually around 14 days or so. This is so the police can ascertain whether a crime has in fact been committed. It is also an opportunity for you to put your side of the story across.
There is a good chance that nothing will come of it though unless it is something more serious in which case it will be put before a public prosecutor to determine whether it should be brought before a court.
Remember that the Spanish legal system exists to protect you and your rights. If you feel that you have been the victim of a crime, make sure you report it using the information above.
You may also want to bookmark this page or share with your friends on social media so that in the event that you do need to report a crime, you will know exactly what to do.