A new tool to know the realities of local police forces in Catalonia

The General Directorate of Security Administration (DGAS) carried out, during the course of 2016, the first annual report of local police forces in Catalonia, which gathers data concerning local police human resources and materials. This document involves a first approximation to the reality of local police forces in Catalonia, and intends to mark the beginning of a gathering of data referring to these forces in order to achieve the highest level of coordination and order.

policia_localIn this first report information is gathered about human resources, material resources, organisational resources and activities based on data recorded by the Police Information System (SIP).

In December 2015 there were 10,888 police agents in Catalonia in 213 local police agencies. This figure means, on the one hand, an increase of 2.4% in comparison with the previous year and, on the other, a return to the figures of 2011 (when there were 10,894). The 1,221 local police women amounted to 11.2% of the total. This infra-representation of women in local police services in Catalonia is even more pronounced in head officer ranks, and there only five female heads of police, three chiefs and two sergeants, which amounted to 2.3% of all head officers.

The average age of local police officers, in December 2015, was 44.4, with 96 agencies with an average age of between 41 and 45 and 185 agencies with an average age of between 46 and 50.

The data which best reflects the complexity and diversity of local police forces in Catalonia is that which refers to the number of employees, as roughly 50% of local police forces have 20 or fewer, and almost 40% between 21 and 75, while there are 28 police forces with over 75. Therefore, on one extreme there are local forces with only one officer, three with three, three others with 4, 5 and 6, while on the other extreme the Guàrdia Urbana of Barcelona boasts over 2,926 officers.

One element to be noted is the continuous training of local police officers. Hence, during the course of 2015 the different administrations offered courses which were attended by 22,007 people, especially involving public security and traffic, but also including police assistance, administration and administrative support.

In reference to the collaboration and coordination between the different police agencies, in 2015 there were 193 local security councils in 128 different municipalities. At the end of 2015, 207 municipalities had signed some type of agreement with the Department of the Interior, and 11 had had their local security plans approved (a further three did so in 2016). Furthermore, at this moment there are five inter-municipal agreements to provide local police services[1].

The annual local police report for Catalonia in 2015 is a first step and there is a willingness on the part of the DGAS to expand on this in future editions. One of the methods would be to gather data from other information sources, so that the photograph obtained would be an increasingly true reflection of local police forces and would be useful to plan strategies and decisions linked to them.

[1] The five collaboration agreements signed at this stage are between the following towns:

  • Santa Maria de Palautordera and Sant Esteve de Palautordera;
  • Sant Fruitós del Bages, Sallent and Santpedor;
  • Martorelles and Montmeló;
  • Calella, Canet de Mar and Sant Pol; and
  • Callús and Sant Joan de Vilatorrada.

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