Jaume Bosch: The concept of “Police of Catalonia” is a reality, but an incomplete one

Jaume Bosch, coordinador de projectes transversals i d’impuls d’accions formatives de l’Institut de Seguretat Pública de Catalunya (ISPC)He is coordinator of transversal projects and promotion of training initiatives of the ISPC. He has a degree in Law awarded by the UB. A Master’s in “The city: policies, projection and management” awarded by the UB. He was an associate teacher in the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology at the UAB. He was the first general subdirector of Coordination of local police forces. He was a councillor, Vice-president of the Barcelona provincial council and member of the Parliament of Catalonia. Author of a range of publications; the latest, “From the statute to self-determination” (2013).

Is the concept of “Police of Catalonia” introduced by Law 4/2003 a desideratum rather than a reality?

Today the concept of “Police of Catalonia” is a reality, but an incomplete one. The idea of the Police of Catalonia being dependent on Catalan institutions, Generalitat and councils, or let’s say, the police force of the Generalitat-Mossos d’esquadra and local Police forces, came to life in the 1980s based on a model designed by Jaume Curbet. He expressed an unequivocal political wish as a fundamental building block for the country’s self-government. Some vital legal mechanisms were pushed forward to construct a system: the first law to coordinate local police forces ( in 84), later substituted by the 1991 law, the law to create the Catalan Police school ( in 85), years later the law was repealed by the Law of the Institute of Public Security of Catalonia in 2007, and the Law of the Police of the Generalitat-Mossos d’esquadra of 1994. And later, the Law of the System of Security of 2003. These laws are now overwhelmed by reality, and the policy of coordination of local police forces has not had, despite the wishes of successive leaders, the human and economic resources demanded by a project to create a policing system.

What changes need to be introduced in the Catalan policing system to respond appropriately to challenges to public security? Do you know of any initiatives that are being put into practice in other places that would be useful in our country? 

We need the so-many-times-announced Law of the Police System of Catalonia. It is true that within the current legal framework some of the initiatives that we need could be pushed forward, but it is no less true that three factors make this law indispensable: the passing of the 2006 Statute with new competences for the Generalitat in terms of security ( including the definition of the Mossos d’esquadra as an integral police force and the organisation of local police forces, and not only their mere coordination), at the end of 2008 with the territorial deployment of the Mossos to substitute the Guardia Civil and the National Police, and the appearance of new types of crime, including the new terrorist threat. The only law posterior to the Statute is that of the Institute of Public Security. A new legal text is necessary to improve on the laws of 91 and 94, and to update the statutory framework of the Mossos and local police forces, with a common part for the two forces and a specific amount for each force. Over recent years other communities have continued to advance and are now ahead of us: in the Basque Country , with unified recruitment of local police officers this term, or with new laws in Navarra (2015) ,although some of their articles may have been annulled by the constitutional court, in the community of Valencia (2017), Balearics (2017) and the Community of Madrid (2018). Unfortunately, we are no longer forerunners.

What must the responsibility of municipalities be in the maintenance of security?     

Municipalities have defined competences, as is the role of the mayors local security committees. Local security plans are a good tool. But it is necessary for the Generalitat to help municipalities, especially the medium-size and small ones. There are 214 local police forces. Today the constitutional framework does not allow for the fusion of Mossos and local police forces and I doubt that this is the solution. But it is vital that the 214 local police forces, maintaining their municipal dependence, act, more and more frequently, via mechanisms that unite, order and dignify their role.

Is the role of the Institute of Public Security of Catalonia well designed or is it necessary to make changes to improve the policing system? Is an organ rather than a “system” necessary?

The 2007 law is very advanced, the institute defines it as much more than a number of Schools, and it is adapted to the new Statute: it is a good instrument, that foresees , for example, that the Institute acts regarding the selection of local police officers, just as the communities I mentioned before are beginning to do, or that it intervenes in the context of private security. The fact is that the Centre is now affiliated to the Universitat de Barcelona and teaches a degree course in security, which has great importance. But the ISPC needs economic resources to maintain and upgrade installations and to push forward much more research; it should become a European point of reference in research and reflecting on some issues: I would dare to suggest police mediation or the fight against gender violence.  Besides, the new Law should create new organs to better integrate local police forces into the system: A negotiating table for work conditions at a national level, a centralised unit of internal affairs, a central unit for the purchasing of material… There are many proposals to build a real Catalonia Policing System. If only, when circumstances permit, we can begin to make up for the time lost, based on a constitutional and political consensus that must inspire public security policies.

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