More than half of recently graduated Spanish Police agents to be sent to Catalonia
The Spanish National Police has allocated more than half of its recently graduated agents to be sent to Catalonia. Of the 418 that passed the police training this year, 231 are destined to work in Catalonia, a figure which represents 55% of the total. The Director General of the Spanish Police, Ignacio Cosidó, stated how these figures show that the force “has a strong willingness to remain in Catalonia”. He also added that the Spanish Government prioritises security within Catalonia. However, the Catalan Police, called the Mossos d’Esquadra, has the majority of police power in Catalonia, except customs control and the fight against international and organised crime. In the rest of Spain – except the Basque Country – Spanish Police does the majority of the police work.
Barcelona (ACN).- Of the 418 police agents that have completed their training with the Spanish National Police this year, 231 will be sent to work in Catalonia. The figure represents 55% of the total. In Catalonia the majority of police work is carried out by the Catalan Police, called the Mossos d’Esquadra. In the rest of Spain – except the Basque Country – Spanish Police does the majority of the police work. The Director General of the Spanish Police, Ignasio Cosidó, stated that the force “has a strong willingness to remain in Catalonia”. He also explained how the security of Catalonia is a “priority” of the Spanish Government and how the Spanish Police has the “duty to remain one of the backbone institutions” of the State. Figures show there has not been a notable growth of crime levels within Catalonia, quite the opposite: crime levels have been reduced by a small amount in the last few years. The Spanish Police decision, directly from the Spanish Home Affairs Ministry, comes in a context of severe budget cuts and a reduction in the number of public servants.
The Catalan Police does most of the police work in Catalonia
Law enforcement in Catalonia is made up of state-wide organisations - the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía (Spanish Police) and the Guardia Civil (Spanish Gendarmerie) - as well as Catalan police forces - the Mossos d’Esquadra (managed by the Catalan Government) and the Policia Local. The Mossos d’Esquadra are by far the largest police force within Catalonia, while the Spanish Police are primarily tasked with international issues such as organised crime, terrorism, drug trafficking and immigration-related issues. Since the late 1990s, the number of Spanish Police officers have been gradually reduced while those of the Mossos d’Esquadra have been increasing, since security powers were gradually devolved. In 2005 there were 1.05 Spanish Police officers per 1,000 people, while this figure for 2011 had dropped to 0.88. While in 2005 there were 1.54 Mossos d’Esquadra officers per 1,000 inhabitants and in 2011 the figure had increased to 2.21. This means that, despite Catalan Police doing most of the police work in Catalonia, in 2011 the size of the Spanish Police contingent was 40% that of the Mossos d’Esquadra.
According to the Spanish Police, the decision has been made in order to strengthen security in Catalonia
Cosidó stated how the Spanish Government is committed to the security of Catalonia particularly in regards to immigration-related issues, Islamic terrorism and organised crime. According to the head of the Spanish Police, nearly half of the jihadist terrorism arrests made in Spain during the past five years have been in Catalonia. Cosidó emphasised the progress that has been made in reducing organised crime in Catalonia. For the first half of 2013, 31 organised crime groups have been dismantled, compared to 27 for the same period last year. Furthermore, the Spanish Police have intercepted more than 400kg of cocaine, 5% more than the first half of 2012, as well as 1,500kg of Hashish (23% more than last year). Finally, 17 illegal immigration networks have been dismantled by the Spanish Police in 2013 with between 1,200 and 1,300 illegal immigrants being arrested.
Recent crime reduction in Catalonia
Figures show there has been a reduction in crime levels within Catalonia. According to a report issued by the Catalan Police the number of criminal offences per 1,000 people in Catalonia is down from 74.01 in 1999 to 70.45 in 2011. What is more, the perception among Catalans is that there has been no notable increase in security problems in the last three years. When asked to rate the security situation in Catalonia between 1 and 10 (with 1 being very unstable and 10 being very stable) the average score for 2011 was 6.3, exactly the same figure as two years previously.