The Guardia Civil, Spain’s oldest law enforcement agency, has issued some of its officers with old, obsolete rifles. The Union de Guardia Civiles, a police union, has raised concerns that its officer are being equipped with out of date firearms after some units were issued with CETME Model C’s dating from the 1960s. The Union de Guardia Civiles expressed ‘surprise and outrage’ when units in Cantabria, La Rioja, Burgos and Soria, all in northern Spain, were issued Model C’s from central Guardia Civil stores to replace CETME Model LCs. The ageing rifles had previously been used for ceremonial purposes.
The Model LC was introduced in 1984 and was also Spain’s standard issue infantry weapon until it was replaced by the Heckler & Koch G36 in 1999. The Model C is not only older but it is longer, heavier (weighing around 8lbs) and even less modular than the CETME Model LC. Another potential issue is the Model C’s chambering. The C is chambered in the larger 7.62×51mm round, compared to the LC’s 5.56x45mm, which is ill-suited to police use in built-up areas.
The Union de Guardia Civiles raised concerns about whether these older rifles had passed the necessary performance tests to be issued to active officers. In a statement the union said: “We believe that 35 years of service are already more than enough to start thinking about replacing them, but on top of that we find the disconcerting order to put back into service a weapon dating from 1964” The union also suggest that the Spanish government is unwilling to invest in policing and proper equipment in the country’s rural areas.
They are calling on the Spanish government to explain why the Guardia Civil has not received the investment necessary to purchase new weapons when both Catalonia’s autonomous police and the Spanish National Police Corps, the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía, are equipped with more modern weapons.