Mossos d'Esquadra

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Mossos d'Esquadra
Common nameMossos
Agency overview
Formed21 April 1719; 305 years ago (1719-04-21)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCatalonia, Spain
Map of Mossos d'Esquadra's jurisdiction
Size32,108 km2 (12,397 sq mi)
Governing bodyGeneralitat de Catalunya
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersComplex Central Egara, Sabadell (Barcelona)
Minister responsible
Agency executive

The Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈmosuz ðəsˈkwaðɾə]; English: Police Squad), also known as the Policia de la Generalitat de Catalunya and informally as Mossos, is the autonomous police force in the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia. They trace their origins back to squads formed in 1719.[3]


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 and 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.

The Mossos was manned by local people, who had to speak Catalan and be familiar with local paths, caves, and hiding places. 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. Throughout the centuries, control of the Mossos passed back and forth several times from Catalan authority to Spanish military command.

The Mossos 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.

The Mossos flourished under Primo de Rivera's dictatorship.; despite this, when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed, 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 the Guardia Civil and National Police within the territory of Catalonia. This process of substitution began in 1994 and was completed in 2008.[4]

The Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (Catalan: Estatut d'Autonomia de Catalunya) defines the scope of action of the Generalitat Police Force – Mossos d'Esquadra as the whole of the Catalan territory, and states that it exercises all the functions of a police force in the following fields:[5]

  • 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
  • Patrolling and ensuring the safety of highways within Catalonia

The Mossos d'Esquadra operate under the authority of the Generalitat de Catalunya within the territory of the autonomous community of Catalonia (through the Catalan Ministry of Home Affairs; Catalan: Departament d'Interior). The National Police and the Civil Guard, by contrast, are commanded directly by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. The Mossos keep some officers in Catalonia to support anti-terrorism operations, handle identity documents, police immigration, and execute other limited responsibilities of the central government.[6]

The sidearms officers can pick from are the Heckler & Koch USP or the Walther P99 both of which are chambered for 9×19mm. Regular Mossos can also use the Heckler & Koch UMP sub-machine gun, which used by the Mossos during the 2017 Barcelona attacks.

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
Insignia No insignia
Title Major Comissari Intendent Inspector Sotsinspector Sergent Caporal Mosso
English translation Major Commissioner Intendent Inspector Lieutenant Sergeant Corporal Constable

Special intervention group (GEI)[edit]

Special intervention group of Mossos d'esquadra

The Special Intervention Group (GEI; in Catalan: Grup Especial d'Intervenció) is a Mossos d'Esquadra body that specializes in situations with a high risk of armed violence such as terrorist detention, rescues of hostages, and VIP protection. This group is under the command of the Intervention Division.

This group was created in 1984 with the collaboration of Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) of Germany. It was kept secret in anticipation of the security challenges that would be posed with the holding of the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. Another rationale for its creation was to transfer responsibility for prisons to the Generalitat de Catalonia; this was felt to require a protocol to deal with riots or hostage-taking.


The force has a large quantity and variety of weapons.[citation needed] Each of the weapons is assigned only to one GEI.


Submachine guns

Assault rifles


Sniper rifles

In the most situations, each member is equipped with a sub-machine gun and two pistols.


  • Patrol car
    The Mossos employs several makes of vehicles, for both patrol and undercover operations. These vehicles are high-powered SUVs, vans, motorbikes and 4x4 vehicles. They also operate helicopters and drones for aerial operations.[citation needed]

Controversies and legal cases[edit]

Controversies related to the Mossos d'Esquadra include:

  • In 2008, three Mossos were sentenced to six years of imprisonment for the torture and injury of an alleged delinquent who was later proven not guilty.[7] In 2009, the Tribunal Supremo reduced the sentence.[8] In 2012, the offending Mossos were paroled.[9]
  • In 2016, six agents were detained for their involvement in a cardiac failure of a businessman in the Raval neighbourhood.[10]
  • In 2017, the central government suspended the Chief of Police Major Trapero during the 2017–18 Spanish constitutional crisis, and also placed the force under investigation. The Mossos were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and Trapero was reinstated.[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statistical Institute of Catalonia (9 April 2021). "Autonomous Police – Mossos d'Esquadra. Members. By sex and rank. Areas". Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  2. ^ Mossos d'Esquadra. "Police stations". Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  3. ^ "La nostra història". Mossos d'Esquadra (in Catalan). Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Statue of Autonomy of Catalonia 2006, Article 164.5 on Public Security
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Seis años de cárcel para tres 'mossos' por torturas y lesiones a un detenido". El País (in Spanish). 26 November 2008. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  8. ^ ABC (15 December 2009). "El TS rebaja la pena a los "mossos" condenados por torturas a un detenido | Cataluña | Cataluña –". ABC. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  9. ^ Razón, La. "El Gobierno indulta de nuevo a cuatro Mossos condenados por torturas". (in European Spanish). Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Los mossos del "caso Benítez" acuerdan a última hora una pena mínima para librarse de la cárcel". abc (in European Spanish). Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ Shields, Cillian. "Trapero and former Catalan police leadership acquitted by Spain's National Court". Retrieved 26 January 2021.

External links[edit]