“What has happened is that you have transferred the internal balances of the Government to the leadership of the Mossos, removing the uncomfortable controls for each party and placing those of trust”. With this lapidary phrase, the leader of the opposition, Salvador Illa, has summarized the changes in the leadership of the Mossos d’Esquadra carried out by the Executive of Pere Aragonès, who appeared before the plenary this Wednesday to explain these changes. The president has argued that it is a normal renewal due to the entry of a new team in the Department, something that happens frequently in the police. In addition, he has branded as “immoral” the criticisms that have mixed the restructuring with political interference in the fight against corruption.
Aragonès and Illa have collided head-on in the plenary session this Wednesday, where the head of the Government has appeared to explain the changes made in the police leadership that led to the departure of the major Josep Lluís Trapero and another thirty commissioners and mayors of the prefecture. One of the most controversial relays was that of Toni Rodríguez, head of the Criminal Investigation division and who directed the sensitive judicial investigations.
“I cannot accept hearing that with the changes they have been made of purges or purification in the body or that they respond to political revenge. They are partisan accusations that try to mix in an immoral way the commitment of the fight against corruption that this government has”, Aragonès affirmed. The president has insisted that, with the arrival of the new head of the body, Josep María Estela, an administrative restructuring was carried out that affected 31 commanders, changes that he has attributed to the “necessary transformation” of both the Department of the Interior and the body .
In the specific case of Rodríguez, Aragonès has assured that he was replaced by Mayor Ramon Chacón, whom he has described as a “professional, neutral and committed police officer, a specialist in anti-corruption investigations and who was number two of the previous one”. For this reason, the president has expressed, considering that Rodríguez’s change has to do with an attempt to cover up cases of corruption is as much as insinuating that the Mossos are “permeable to supposed intentions to avoid investigations.” “Neither are they now, nor are they before. And the Minister will never interfere in the commitment of the body against corruption”, he assured.
Illa accuses the Minister of being “hands tied”
For Illa, on the other hand, the changes in the police leadership are a great cause for concern. “We are very concerned about what has been done and how it has been done”, assured the head of the opposition, after considering that “the parties that support the Government have placed the Mossos in the political arena and have turned the body into currency of change in the agreement with the CUP for the investiture”. The leader of the PSC has also accused the Government of having a “distrustful look” on his politics and of leaving the body “abandoned to its fate”.
The socialist leader has also considered that the security policy responds only to the priorities of the CUP and not to those of the Government parties. He does not even talk to the Minister, Joan Ignasi Elena, of whom he has said that “his hands are tied” and he makes a policy “with which it is clear that he does not agree”. Given the situation, Illa has reached out to Aragonès to lean on the PSC and reverse the changes made so far in the body.
“No one denies the right to relieve the Mossos or change the control panel. What we question is that you have made 36 changes to give a warning of where things were going”, Illa has indicated. “36 changes that do not respond to criteria of rejuvenation or feminization and it is revealing that the first change announced is precisely that of the person who was leading the fight against corruption,” she stressed.
The socialist has reviewed other measures of the Government regarding the Mossos that he has described as a “rosary of decisions that has led to the weakening of the Mossos body”. Among them, Illa has cited the withdrawal of accusations against protesters in cases where there are no injuries to agents, the transfer of the escort unit from the prefecture (technical sphere) to the general directorate (political sphere) or the “questioning of the police model as a whole”, with explicit reference to the parliamentary study commission in this area. The head of the opposition has also criticized that from the Government there has been a “fixation in areas such as the General Information Commissioner to have political control”, as well as has charged against the Minister for not processing the fines imposed against protesters by law jaw.
Aragonès has responded by displaying what he has described as “milestones” in the short management of his party over the Department. Among other issues, the head of the Government has recalled that the police workforce ceiling has been increased to 22,000 agents or the early retirement of the body has been achieved. “Sometimes how much I listen depending on what fuss in this Parliament I think we forget that for 7 years no agent was incorporated into the body. 7 years, no new agents. This conditions safety”, said Aragonès.
“We have no problem explaining ourselves and I want to think that the power of the Government to make the changes to the Mossos that are necessary is not questioned,” said Aragonès, in an appearance demanded by the plenary session but to which, he recalled, his party also gave support. “If he does not have the power to make changes, what margin are we giving the interior minister, as all departments do, to the people who are most suitable?” He insisted.