More women than ever at the top of the Police | Spain

The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, at the swearing-in ceremony of 1,200 police officers in Ávila in 2019. Jaime Villanueva

The appointment this Friday of Commissioner Carmen Solís as head of the National Police Department of Scientific Police has raised to four the number of women who are part of the Governing Board of this institution, a body headed by the director general, Francisco Pardo, and made up of 15 senior officers. It is the first time that there is such a female presence in the police leadership, in which there was none until 2012. With the incorporation of Commissioner Solís, women already represent 20% of it, a percentage even higher than the total in the workforce, where there are 11,839 female agents (just under 17%) of the more than 70,000 current officers, when 43 years have passed since their entry was allowed. Together with Solís ―who until now held the head of the Central Clinical Analysis Unit of the Scientific Police―, members of the Governing Board are also commissioners Luisa María Benvenuty, head of the Economic and Technical Division; Alicia Malo, head of the International Cooperation Division, and Eulalia González, deputy director of the Technical Office.

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The presence of four women in the leadership of the Police comes days after the Ministry of the Interior announced the adoption of measures so that the number of women in promotions for access to both the National Police and the Civil Guard is before the year 2030 of 40%, well above the current percentages. In the case of the Police, the department of Fernando Grande-Marlaska will shortly submit to the Council of Ministers for approval the royal decree on Selective Processes with several measures aimed precisely at increasing the female presence among those aspiring to join the force .

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Among them is the elimination of the minimum height requirement, until now set at 160 centimeters. In February, Grande-Marlaska himself already admitted that this limit was discriminatory against women, since it was less than two centimeters below the average height of women, while in the case of men (who were required them to be at least 165 centimeters tall) the margin was 11 centimeters. From the age of 18, the average height in Spain for men is 176.60 and for women 161.26, so there was an imbalance between what was asked of one and the other. This requirement to access selective tests had long been eliminated in other police forces in European countries such as France, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Romania, Denmark and Germany.

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After the approval of the decree with measures to encourage their presence, women who aspire to join the National Police will be able to postpone their selection tests if they are pregnant, giving birth or postpartum. This postponement will also be effective for the completion or completion of the course for access to police practices. In addition, both women and men will be allowed to postpone their incorporation to the admission course due to pregnancy, birth, adoption or fostering of a minor, without losing seniority. With all this, Interior intends to increase the percentage of women who aspire and manage to be agents. In 2019, of the 2,606 candidates who passed the opposition, 738 were women (28.3%). The following year, there were 822 of a total of 2,491 new agents (33%). In 2021, of the 2,328 who entered, 758 were women (32.6%), according to official statistics.

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This attempt to strengthen the presence of women in the Police encountered a stumbling block last May when changes were approved in the table of medical exclusions that had been in force since 1998. In the new pathologies such as diabetes, gastric ulcer, psoriasis, celiac disease or some types of asthma, but endometriosis, a chronic and benign gynecological ailment suffered by one in ten women, was included for the first time. Shortly after, the police amended the rule so that this disease would only be exclusive when it prevented the sufferer from carrying out the tasks of a police officer.

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