Women in Explosive Ordnance Disposal – Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence (EOD-CBRN)

The women and men working in EOD-CBRN in the Mossos d’Esquadra police force are responsible for analysing and neutralising primarily two types of explosive devices: industrially manufactured devices for military use, and makeshift devices manufactured and/or used by common criminals, armed groups or terrorists. They also specialise in CBRN, which allows them to analyse and handle devices that pose a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear risk to people or property.

Female officer from the EOD unit, clad in protective equipment.

The tasks carried out by officers in this specialisation require knowledge of mechanics, biology and chemistry, all of which are largely associated with male-dominated groups. For this reason, it is among the police specialisations with the lowest presence of women worldwide.

The first woman joined the Mossos d’Esquadra EOD unit in 2001. This was the now Corporal S.F.F., who was also among the first women to carry out tasks in this specialisation anywhere in Spain. Today, the unit has three female specialists in this field: one officer, one corporal and unit chief Sergeant J.M.C.

Report on the EOD unit

The Mossos d’Esquadra’s EOD unit was set up between October 1980 and February 1981, thanks to four officers in the eighth course for explosive ordnance disposal specialists. Four more joined a year later, setting up a unit that was viewed with suspicion at that time by the rest of the force.

From 1991-1992 onwards, the unit experienced a momentum surge and growth that resulted in an increase in both personnel and material: eight members were added, robots were acquired and new vehicles and materials were brought in, putting the EOD unit on a par with other Mossos d’Esquadra security forces.

Today, the unit is led by Sergeant Santi Pleguezuelo and made up of four corporals and 14 qualified specialist officers.