The Catalan interior minister, Joan Ignasi Elena, is to get more Mossos police, more resources for the Catalan police force and more interconnection between police bodies in Spain. Today, a meeting of Catalonia's Security Council - a body composed of Spanish and Catalan government officials - has agreed that the size of the Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, will increase by 20 percent to a total of 22,006 officers. In the coming years, 3,739 new recruits will join the corps, with about 800 expected to enter service each year. Up till now, the size of the force has been 18,267 officers - a ceiling agreed in 2006.
"There are two factors that have led to the increase of this figure and made this agreement possible: firstly, population issues, but also a very qualitative element: the number of officers per capita, which has been increased from 2.355 to 2.628; that is, 11% more officers per head of population," explained Elena at the end of the meeting.
The agreement on the new ceiling and ratio comes into force immediately and represents "the most important news in public security in the last 15 years," according to the Catalan official, who appeared just after the meeting with Spanish interior minister Fernando Grande Marlaska. This is the first meeting of the combined Security Council body since the new Catalan government was elected, and although the Spanish and Catalan representatives appeared separately at the subsequent press conference, Elena explained the good understanding reached between the two administrations in the agreement.
In addition to the increase in police numbers, the Mossos d'Esquadra will now be able remedy a deficiency that they have been denied by the state: their presence in all police databases, both in the European Union and internationally, and their entry into the Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA) platform, allowing international information exchange, and implying a commitment to information exchange that extends to investigations at all levels as well as prevention tasks. In addition, the Mossos will participate in the drafting of the Spanish state's strategic plans in areas such as terrorism and cybersecurity.
A satisfactory and "positive" agreement, according to the Catalan minister, which he says allows the Mossos d'Esquadra to be "more adjacent, with more presence in the neighbourhoods, increasing the proximity that has always been the DNA" of the Catalan police. "A more social police" was how the minister summed it up. Joan Ignasi Elena’s goal is to aim that by 2030 the force will be “more adjacent, more social, more effective and more connected”.
Marlaska, in the same key
Interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska appeared after Elena but delivered a message in the same key. "It's a day that we can be satisfied with, seeing the importance of coordination between administrations, always thinking about the citizens, which is as it should be," the minister said.
Despite not making appearing jointly after the meeting, both Elena and Marlaska wanted to make clear the good rapport between the administrations. “We have been able to maintain a climate of cordiality and institutional cooperation,” the Spanish minister said in his appearance.
In fact, the agreement reached has been historic, putting to rest doubts that have hung in the air for years and had become a real source of tension, such as the information exchange issue. In this regard, the Spanish minister said that "coordination between the Spanish National Police, the Civil Guard and the Mossos is essential. The three share the same mission."