BOPE - elite crime fighters from Brazil

BOPE - elite crime fighters from Brazil

There are countless special units operating around the world, but few are as busy as Brazil's BOPE (Batalhao de Operacoes Policiais Especiais).

Brazil, after all, is not just known for its opulent carnivals or beautiful beaches. This country is also infamously known for its high crime rate, and BOPE is one of the forces tasked with combating it.

Author: Tomáš Bajgar


The police unit BOPE was established in 1978. During this period, Brazil was struggling with a significant increase in crime, which the regular police forces were unable to combat effectively.

Thus, a special group of top professionals was created, designated to handle the most challenging tasks.

Since its inception, the unit has undergone several significant transformations, both technically and tactically.

However, BOPE still has one main objective, namely to fight kidnappers, handle bank robberies, or eliminate dangerous terrorists. Thanks to its extreme effectiveness, it is rightfully considered a finely polished diamond of Brazilian police forces.

Where BOPE operates

BOPE's jurisdiction extends to all areas of Brazil. Naturally, the unit appears most often in places with the highest crime rate, such as the capital, Brasilia, and states like Sao Paulo, Amazonas, or Bahia.

Dangerous drug gangs are a common occurrence in all these areas. Organized crime in Brazil is much stronger than in Europe or the USA. Hence, all BOPE members must be perfectly trained.

Hard Training

Getting into BOPE is no picnic, but that's nothing compared to what awaits after. Training can last up to eight months and is extremely challenging. All applicants must not only have excellent physical fitness but also need to be mentally resilient.

Therefore, psychological tests are part of the admission process, which for many candidates can be even more challenging than other disciplines.

Of course, future members also learn the art of combat, both hand-to-hand and with the use of sharp and firearms. Each participant must also learn how to use explosives.

Training often takes place under simulated real conditions. This allows all candidates to try out what it will look like during an actual operation. Thanks to this, BOPE training is considered one of the toughest and most effective in the world.

Hi-tech Equipment

Given that BOPE often has to deal with the worst criminals, they are appropriately equipped for this purpose. Standard equipment includes knives, various types of pistols, submachine guns, and assault rifles. Grenades are also a necessity.

BOPE also uses modern technologies in their work in the form of GPS navigation, drones, or thermal imaging cameras. It is also worth mentioning armored vehicles, which can shield the unit members from gunfire thanks to their massive armor.

Every special police unit is unique in its way, and BOPE is no exception. However, unlike their colleagues operating in calmer parts of the planet, BOPE members have to deal with dangerous criminals almost daily. And that makes them an elite among the elite.