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The news that the chief of the Mossos d'Esquadra police, Josep Lluís Trapero, visited Spain's Supreme Court, the National Audience and the Zarzuela royal palace about a month ago and that the leadership of the Catalan interior ministry, including the minister Joan Ignasi Elena, were unaware of it, has caused surprise and discomfort. The ministry has avoided blowing up the controversy by asserting that each of the visits must have an explanation and that they must have to do with operational meetings related to his role.

In any case, the way that this news has come to light, through the newspaper La Razón, and the fact that no one has denied it, leaves both Trapero and the Catalan ministry in an awkward position, as a round of meetings in these three institutions, especially in the Zarzuela, the official residence of king Felipe VI, would seem to oblige the chief of the Catalan police to have reported it to his superiors so that they would not find out through newspaper reports.

Although the statements made by Trapero in the National Audience during the trial that acquitted him of the accusation of sedition left him in a difficult position, as he made it clear that during the events of October 2017 he had an operation ready to arrest president Carles Puigdemont, the minister Miquel Sàmper reinstated him to his post once he was acquitted by the Court. It was not an easy decision for Sàmper, as a significant part of the independence movement was very surprised by the strength of his statements to the court. The clear will of the chief to regain command of the Mossos force also played a part.

What is certain is that the professional unanimity that he had built up in his previous period in the role was put in doubt and his return to office has not been free of incidents. In the only interview he has given, in June this year with TV3, he stated that if president Pere Aragonès proposed to him to hold another non-authorised referendum, his position would be the same as in 2017, to comply with the law, "which is what we are obliged to do."

Chief Trapero, despite occupying the highest rank in the Mossos d'Esquadra, is neither alone nor working independently of the Catalan ministry of the interior. To assume that he can maintain such an agenda, with the interpretations that can naturally be placed on it, is doing a disservice to the political powers who, ultimately, are accountable to the public. It is unthinkable that similar situations would occur in the Spanish defence or interior ministries with the departments being left totally in the dark. And indeed, when, in the past, episodes of this type have taken place without their being an easy explanation to give to public opinion, they have been rectified.