How to report a crime in Spain

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Unfortunately, every day many people are victims of crimes such as theft, robbery, or fraud or even others that can lead to the loss of life.

When you have been a victim, a witness or may have valuable information about a criminal offense it is very important to report it to law enforcement.

In this article, BMI Spain tells you how to report a crime in Spain.

“Denuncia”: What it is?

A “denuncia” is a statement made by the victim, witness or any citizen who may have had a relationship with the criminal act to security agents or officials, who will communicate it to the competent authority.

In case you know, or may know who may have committed the crime, it is very important that you provide information that may help identify them. This is one of the most important keys to knowing how to report a crime in Spain.

People who have been victims of a crime, witnesses, or are affected by an act or omission can file a complaint to the security agents. When the crime has been committed against minors, the complaint may be filed by parents, legal guardians or the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

What kind of complaints exist?

In the Spanish legal system, there are two types of complaints. Knowing the differences is very important to know how to report a crime in Spain.

  • Administrative complaint: these are reports about facts or omissions that are contrary to administrative law or regulations.
  • Criminal complaint: these types of complaints are those in which the perpetration of a criminal act or misdemeanor that is typified in the Criminal Code is reported.
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How to report a crime in Spain: principals keys

To answer the question of how to report a crime in Spain, you should know in advance that there are three different forms of reporting: in writing, verbally or via the Internet, the differences between these forms will be explained later.

When an individual file a complaint, in any of the three ways mentioned above, it must be done before the officials or the authorities. You can file a complaint in person or through a legal representative.

For the fact of denouncing, except for a false denunciation, there is no responsibility at all, so no bail or lawyer will be necessary.


Differences between verbal, written or internet complaints

To know how to report a crime in Spain, you should know the difference between a verbal, written or Internet report:

  • Verbal complaint: when the facts are manifested orally before an official or authority agent who will collect them in writing.
  • Written complaint: when the reported facts are submitted in writing to the competent authority.
  • Internet complaint: this means filing a written complaint through the official pages of the security authorities; however, this possibility is limited only by the loss or theft of identity documents.

Whether the complaint is made verbally, in writing, or online, the document must be signed by the complainant, or if the complainant cannot designate a person. The officer in charge of receiving it will sign and seal the document on all its pages.

When the complaint has been made through the Internet, the document will be assigned with a reference number that must be handed in at the police station that you have designated when you go to sign the document, which must be done in less than 72 hours.

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The authority in charge of receiving the complaint will provide a copy if it is requested by the complainant.

Rights and obligations of the complainant

If you want to know how to report a crime in Spain, you should know about the obligations of the complainant:

  • You are required to be truthful, otherwise you may be charged with filing a false report.
  • In addition to the signature to formalize the complaint, you have to identify yourself in it.
  • If you cannot understand or speak the language which has official status in the place where the complaint is filed, you are entitled to receive free language assistance and a written translation of the copy of the complaint you submit.
  • If you are the victim of the crime, then you have the right to obtain information from the police, except where this would affect the investigation.
  • As a complainant you have the right to be informed of the date, time and place of the trial, as well as the content of the accusation against the offender.

Before which authorities should I report a crime in Spain?

The complaint must be presented to the authorities in charge of investigating and, if necessary, punish the criminal act, and this is how a crime must be reported in Spain.

In the case of a criminal complaint, it must be filed at the Court or the agents of the authority of the place where the criminal act was committed or the residence of the complainant.


When it is an administrative complaint, it must be presented at the competent administrative institution or to the security forces. In the case that they can appreciate facts that constitute a crime, they will open the pertinent proceedings to investigate and inform the judicial authority in its case.

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The filing of a false report may result in negative consequences such as a fine or prison sentence. In addition, anyone who has been falsely reported may report the person who made the false report.

Take out good insurance

It is not only important to know how a crime is reported in Spain, but also to take into account all the procedures that may follow later.

You can avoid a lot of headaches by taking out a good home insurance, in case of theft or burglary, or car insurance, which can cover theft or damage that a criminal may have done to your car.

Many insurance companies in Spain cover robbery or theft at home, burglary outside the home, broken glass, car windows, among others, also the costs of legal proceedings in some cases.

At BMI Spain we can help you find the home or car insurance that suits your needs, you just have to explain us what you need, and we will do the rest.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us, our team will be glad to help you.