Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy boasted a respectable 431,517 Twitter followers as of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but he was well behind the National Police, which has broken through the 500,000-mark and had 502,433 followers on the social network at the same time, trailing only the FBI, the No. 1 law enforcement in the world on the popular service.

National Police chief Ignacio Cosido marked the occasion with a cake decorated with frosting in the agency's official blue color and the words "Thanks," "Respect" and "Safety" to highlight the great job his officers did in expanding their Twitter presence over the past year.

A year ago, the FBI had 300,000 more followers than the Spanish National Police, but the gap is now down to just 118,000, with the U.S. federal law enforcement agency boasting 620,576 followers as of noon Madrid time on Wednesday.

"@policia already has 500,000 followers. Congratulations to the social networking team and all the Force. Great job in serving the public," Rajoy said in a Twitter posting congratulating the National Police.

Cosido said his goal on taking over as chief of the National Police was to modernize the agency and transform it into "Police 3.0."

The National Police's presence on social networks has produced 300 arrests on drug charges, thanks to 11,500 tips from citizens, the chief said.

The law enforcement agency receives about 150 private messages a day, with the vast majority receiving responses, and about 1,300 comments per day are posted in response to National Police messages.

Some 3.5 million citizens, meanwhile, have downloaded National Police videos on YouTube, Cosido said. EFE