Catalonia's interior minister, Miquel Buch, has sought to assuage concerns about the increase in the murder rate in Barcelona. After 2018 saw 10 in the city, in line with the Spanish average, there had already been 12 by the start of August this year. In an interview with RAC1, he described them as "isolated cases" and attributed them to "people who are known and form part of outstanding settling of scores". "It's not that I'm going through plaça Catalunya and scared for my life," he said.
The minister admitted there might be fewer police officers than in the past, but said that nonetheless "police activity has increased and success too". "That must be recognised," he said. He noted that it's been seven years since the last intake of new Mossos (Catalan police). "We've made a plan against the clock to restart it. We'll slowly refill the police forces, but we'll take some time to fill the places that are needed," he said.
The interior ministry's priority is for Mossos officers to be in the streets, investigating and preventing crime. "We don't have an excess of Mossos and prefer for them to be in the streets and not guarding stones", he said, meaning different official buildings, given that "the law allows someone else to do it". Catalan government offices are guarded by private security.
Buch didn't want to comment on the profile of the city's criminals but said that his department offers judges sufficient tools to redirect those who make it their life. To tackle the increase in criminality in Barcelona, the objective is to ensure they don't act with impunity. Some of the measures being used are, for example, pretrial detention and restraining orders preventing them from going to specific areas they might have targeted, for example the metro.