Mossos d'Esquadra

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Police of the Government of Catalonia – Mossos d'Esquadra
Policia de la Generalitat de Catalunya – Mossos d'Esquadra
Mossos d'Esquadra.svg
Common nameMossos d'Esquadra
Agency overview
Formed1719, as squads
1874–1939 / 1950–1983 as guards of the premises of the Delegation of Barcelona
1983 as autonomous police of Catalonia
Preceding agency
  • Esquadres de Catalunya
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Catalonia, Spain
Catalonia location map.svg
Map of Police of the Government of Catalonia – Mossos d'Esquadra's jurisdiction.
Size32,114 km²
Legal jurisdictionCatalonia
Governing bodyGeneralitat de Catalunya
Constituting instrument
  • Act 19/1983
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed byDirectorate-General of Police
HeadquartersEgara Central Complex, 08206 Sabadell (Barcelona), Catalonia, Spain
Minister (Conseller) responsible
  • Miquel Buch i Moya, Minister of the Interior of the Government of Catalonia
Agency executives
Mossos d'Esquadra patrol vehicle at night.

The Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈmosuz ðəsˈkwaðɾə]; in English: Troopers) are the autonomous police force of Catalonia, largely replacing the Spanish Policía Nacional (National Police) and Guardia Civil (Civil Guard).

They trace their origins back to squads formed in 1719.[1]


On 21 July 1950 the Deputation of Barcelona was authorised to create a small security force using the historical title Mossos d'Esquadra. These new Mossos were a militarized corps having little similarity to the earlier incarnations, with limited powers and small numbers, which was in charge of protecting the government buildings of the Province of Barcelona. With the return of democracy to Spain, the Mossos d'Esquadra grew in number and powers. Since 25 October 1980 the force has been under the authority of the Generalitat de Catalunya (the Government of Catalonia).

Previous Catalan forces[edit]

The Escuadras de Paisanos, later known as the Esquadres de Catalunya, (and informally known as the Mossos d'Esquadra), were men-at-arms who had fought as irregulars in the War of the Spanish Succession, and were brought together by the mayor of the town of Valls near Tarragona between 1719–1721. The corps was constituted as a militia to provide security to trade routes and fairs. It was created as a complement to the regular troops of the Bourbon army, which opposed the Miquelets, who survived as rebel supporters of Archduke Charles.

It was manned by local people, who had to speak Catalan and be familiar with the paths, caves and hiding places in the area. It was eventually placed under military jurisdiction but was less centralised than the Spanish police force (then known as the 'Intendencia General de Policía') formed in 1817, or the yet-to-be-established ‘Guardia Civil’, both of which were systematically deployed away from their home regions, and thus strangers to the places where they served. Throughout the centuries it has passed back and forth from Catalan authority to Spanish military command several times. They were dissolved in 1868 by General Prim after the fall of Queen Isabella II of Spain, since the Mossos had always been royalists.

They were reinstated in 1876 under the reign of Isabella's son king Alfonso XII of Spain, but only in the province of Barcelona. Under his son Alfonso XIII of Spain, the Mossos were not well regarded in Catalonia, especially by the Commonwealth of Catalonia, who paid them but had no control over them. They flourished, though, under Primo de Rivera's dictatorship. When the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed, however, the Mossos sided with the Generalitat de Catalunya. After the Spanish Civil War, the last Mossos left Catalonia with the President of the Generalitat, and the corps was dissolved by the Francoist authorities.

Current role[edit]

Helicopter logo of the Mossos d'Esquadra

The Mossos d'Esquadra have now replaced Spain's Guardia Civil and National Police within the territory of Catalonia. This process of substitution began in 1994 and was completed in 2008.[2] In November 2005, the Mossos took full duties in the city of Barcelona.

The Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (Catalan: Estatut d’Autonomia de Catalunya) defines that the scope of action of the Generalitat Police Force – Mossos d'Esquadra is the whole of the Catalan territory, and states that it exercises all the functions of a police force in the following fields:[3]

  • Public safety and public order.
  • Administrative policing, including that deriving from State regulations.
  • Judicial policing and criminal investigation, including the various forms of organised crime and terrorism, in the terms established by law.

The Mossos d'Esquadra are a police force of the Spanish state placed under the authority of the Generalitat de Catalunya within the territory of the autonomous community of Catalonia. The Policia Nacional and the Guardia Civil, on the other hand, are commanded directly by the Spanish ministry of the interior. They keep some officers in Catalonia to support the fight against terrorism, to handle identity documents, immigration and other limited responsibilities of the central government.[4] However, when there was a dispute between the governments of Catalonia and of Spain about Catalonia becoming independent, and the Catalonian government called a referendum for 1 October 2017, the Spanish government sent thousands of members of the national Guardia Civil and Spanish National Police to Barcelona and Girona with the intention of preventing voting,[5] as the referendum was illegal according to the sentence of the Spanish Constitutional Court.

The Mossos are trained in the Institut de Seguretat Pública de Catalunya (Public Safety Institute of Catalonia), which also trains local police officers.

Ranks of the Mossos d'Esquadra
Rank Mosso Caporal Sergent Sotsinspector Inspector Intendent Comissari Major
Insignia No insignia Catalonia-Police-Caporal.svg Catalonia-Police-Sergent.svg Catalonia-Police-Sotsinspector.svg Catalonia-Police-Inspector.svg Catalonia-Police-Intendent.svg Catalonia-Police-Comissari.svg Catalonia-Police-Major.svg

Becoming part of this area GEI[edit]

Special intervention group of Mossos d'esquadra

Special intervention group (GEI) in Catalan: Grup Especial d'Intervenció. The Area of Special Intervention Groups or AGEI (or simply GEI) is a Mossos d'Esquadra body specialized in interventions with a high risk of armed violence (such as terrorist detention, rescues of hostages, protection of personalities , etc.). This police area depends organically on the Intervention Division In the Anglo-Saxon world the equivalent to this type of police are the SWAT.

This group created in 1984 with de collaboration of Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) of Germany. and Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO) 1991 . Becoming part of this area is not at all easy and it is necessary to pass a selection process that lasts one whole year: Up to 350 candidates were presented to the promotion in 2009, but only 11 were asked for the most aptitudes The first phase, of a physical nature, consists of several tests of strength and resistance, medical and psychotechnical; It was then surpassed by 42 agents. The difficult phase of adaptation consists in an intense multidisciplinary training in which for 30 days the candidates get rid of the world and suffer hard tests of physical resistance and sacrifice, in conditions of great appetite, sleep, cold and stress: [[7][circular reference]] Aspiring people have to overcome situations of high risk limit (such as throwing themselves into the void, making the bridge jump without hesitation or screaming or showing fear, ...), vertigo situations (go and enter the area return to two meters of a vacuum wooden board), claustrophobia, melee (although losing it does not mean that it is eliminated), think of conditions of exhaustion (make a puzzle after hours of not sleeping), etc. To the promotion of 2009 this phase was exceeded by 11 candidates. Then comes a third phase of training, of 750 hours (which actually end up turning more than 1000), to be carried out during the next six months. Finally the fourth and final phase is the period of practices in which the aspirants are already integrated into the activities of the AGEI and lasts for three months, [[8][circular reference]] which was only surpassed by 9 agents. (2,6% of the total) Currently approximately 400 agents are formed, all that is related to this area is secret. .

Armament and diverse material[edit]

This area has a large quantity and variety of weapons. Each of the weapons is assigned only to one GEI The long list includes:


Submachine guns

Assault rifles


Sniper rifles

Of course, other equipment such as helmets, protection goggles, various types of vests (ballistic, antitrauma, among others), batons, battering rams to breach doors, ballistic shields, fiber optic cameras and many others.

In the most common interventions each one is equipped with a sub-machine gun and two pistols.


  • The vehicles are Patrol and discreet, high-powered cars and vans. They also have an armored 4x4 vehicle (NIJ IV level). They also use helicopters from the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Controversies and legal cases[edit]

Controversies related to the Mossos d'Esquadra include:

  • In 2008 three Mossos were condemned to six years of imprisonment for the torture and injury of an alleged delinquent who was later proven not guilty.[9] Later, in 2009 the Tribunal Supremo reduced the sentence.[10] And finally in 2012 they were paroled.[11]
  • In 2016 six agents were detained for their involvement in a cardiac failure of a businessman in the Raval neighbourhood.[12]
  • In 2017 the major was ceased during the application of the 155 Article of the Spanish Constitution. Also, an investigation was opened to determine the role of this police during the 1st of October Acts.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La nostra història". Mossos d'Esquadra (in Catalan). Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  2. ^ "El desplegament de la Policia de la Generalitat – Mossos d'Esquadra" [The deployment of Police of the Generalitat – Catalan police] (PDF) (in Catalan). Catalonia, Spain: Generalitat de Catalunya. November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011.
  3. ^ Statue of Autonomy of Catalonia 2006, Article 164.5 on Public Security –
  4. ^ "Funcions de la Policia de la Generalitat – Mossos d'Esquadra" [Functions of the Police of the Generalitat – Catalan police] (PDF) (in Catalan). Catalonia, Spain: Generalitat de Catalunya. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Catalonia referendum defies Spanish obstruction". BBC News. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  6. ^
  7. ^ ca:Àrea dels Grups Especials d'Intervenció#cite note-SER-2
  8. ^ ca:Àrea dels Grups Especials d'Intervenció#cite note-Montoto-3
  9. ^ País, Ediciones El (2008-11-26). "Seis años de cárcel para tres 'mossos' por torturas y lesiones a un detenido". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  10. ^ ABC. "El TS rebaja la pena a los "mossos" condenados por torturas a un detenido | Cataluña | Cataluña –". ABC. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  11. ^ Razón, La. "El Gobierno indulta de nuevo a cuatro Mossos condenados por torturas". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  12. ^ "Los mossos del "caso Benítez" acuerdan a última hora una pena mínima para librarse de la cárcel". abc (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-08-31.

External links[edit]