A complaint or report
may be filed with the criminal investigation directorates or departments of the Criminal Investigation Force (Polícia Judiciária)
, or at the stations of the Public Safety Police (Polícia de Segurança Pública)
or of the National Republican Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana)
Each of these authorities has a duty to receive all complaints and reports made to them
, even if the crime was not committed within their territorial area or, in the case of the police forces, they do not have jurisdiction for the investigation.
Reporting a crime or filing a complaint is free of charge
, does not require formalities and can be done verbally or in writing. You should include as many details as possible to help the investigation: day, time, place and circumstances of the crime, identification of the suspect(s) and the names of any witnesses and any other evidence.
When the victim reports a crime or files a complaint, he/she is entitled to receive a certificate showing that the complaint was registered
, that is, a document confirming that the complaint was made and stating the type of crime, along with the date and place, and the harm caused.
As soon as a complaint or report is received, or when a police officer witnesses a crime, the police have a duty to inform the Public Prosecution Service as soon as possible so that it can initiate criminal proceedings. However, if there is a danger that relevant evidence might be lost or destroyed, before informing the Public Prosecution Service, the police should urgently carry out all the necessary acts to prevent this from happening - for example, immediately apprehending the vehicle in which a murder was committed and which the suspect might want to hide or destroy in order to conceal any evidence.
It is for the police to pursue the investigation under the guidance of the Public Prosecution Service
. It is the police that will gather evidence by examining the crime scene, questioning the victim, the defendant and the witnesses, obtaining documents, requesting the cooperation of expert witnesses, carrying out searches and placing phone taps, etc.
During the investigation, if the victim wishes to provide further information or find out about the case, he/she should contact the police officer in charge of the investigation
. If the victim has been threatened or intimidated, or fears for their safety, they should report this to the police authorities.