Cronos was the codename. This is the label, taken from the Greek god of time, which the Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, gave to the operation they would activate in the event of a terrorist attack. The objective would be to plan and structure the maximum possible mobilization of police officers. How many? When Cronos was activated between the 17th and 21st August last year, ten thousand Mossos patrolled the streets and highways of Catalonia, for a combined total of 250,000 hours on duty.
This information is presented as part of a new Catalan-language documentary broadcast on Friday by public channel TV3 and made by the Mossos themselves. It interviews many of the Catalan police officers who were most directly involved in the operation: from the explosion of a house in Alcanar, in southern Catalonia, which preceded and precipitated the terrorist attacks; to the Rambla, the events on Barcelona's Avinguda Diagonal when the Rambla terrorist ran down a Mosso; Cambrils, the second attack scenario, and to Subirats, south west of Barcelona where the police finally shot the terrorist who drive the Rambla van, Younes Abouyaaqoub.
Cronos, dies de foscor - "Cronos, days of darkness" - features unseen images and frank confessions and reflections by police. "You are afraid, very much afraid. I’m not ashamed to admit that," says a member of the Mossos' USC Ciutat Vella unit. "But the fear moves me to act, to do my job well," he continues.
Among the aspects covered is the Mossos plan for communicating what was going on, an area which won the force high praise. The documentary recounts that the pre-designed communications plan for the operation had two sides: firstly, the heavy use of social media, especially Twitter, to communicate actions and developments. Secondly, formal briefing for news media through a spokesperson, which in this case was the Mossos' (now former) police chief Josep Lluís Trapero.
The piece is a recognition of the work of the Mossos d'Esquadra, interviewing all the different branches of the force involved in the operation. Witnesses who took part in the highly intense efforts to stop and neutralize the terrorist threat that shook a whole country to its core.