The Parliament’s commission on the future police model of the Mossos d’Esquadra has traveled back in time this Friday. Major Josep Lluís Trapero appeared, surely the most popular police chief in recent history. In theory, to rule on the independent police control mechanism that the Government is considering creating. The intervention of the major has become a reckoning with the Government that deposed it and especially with the ERC and the Minister of the Interior, Joan Ignasi Elena.
The corruption investigations that Trapero and his team shielded and that hinder the Government
The parliamentary session has served to verify –if there was any doubt– that things between Trapero and Elena did not end well at all. The minister decided to dismiss the major as police chief in December 2021, just one year after his reinstatement after being acquitted in the National Court. His substitute, Commissioner Josep Maria Estela, has not lasted even a year: Elena also dismissed him for lack of political harmony. Now at the head of the body is Commissioner Eduard Sallent, who has been facing Trapero for years.
When Interior decided to dismiss Trapero, the new destiny of the major had not been decided. In the end, the ministry ended up sending it to the head of the Services Evaluation Division. An episode that several groups have reminded him of and to which the major wanted to refer. “They have not separated me. They tried to remove me from the structure of the body, but they have not done so because I have my rights and I asserted them”, Trapero responded to the deputies.
Without explicitly mentioning Minister Elena, Trapero has pointed out that the department wanted to place him outside the body’s command structure and that he dedicate himself “to making reports as a sort of hustler”, to which he refused. “In other areas this can work, but with me it doesn’t work. I demanded that I had to be given a place in the command structure and there I am”, Trapero has sentenced.
Trapero’s amendment to Elena’s management has been total. The major has sent a torpedo to the conselleria’s argumentative waterline by charging against the theoretical “plurality” and the “choral” hierarchy of the body advocated by the department. A model that – no one is unaware of – that is opposed to the hierarchical and with a lot of weight of the major in his stage at the head of the Mossos.
But for Trapero “plural decision-making can camouflage who really makes the decisions.” The major has not mentioned names, but among various political groups that phrase has been understood as a reference to the fact that the Interior has given total command of the Mossos to Commissioner Sallent and has wanted to mask it with a supposedly choral prefecture and with more women police stations
“The Mossos are organized hierarchically and they do not command positions of trust or people who are not part of the prefecture”, the major has abounded in another veiled reference to the political interference of the department in the body. However, Trapero has added that political interference “is not new”. “If the professional does not allow it, there is no interference, but it can happen that they stop you”, he added. Floating over the Parliament room was the lawsuit filed by Mayor Toni Rodríguez, dismissed as head of the anti-corruption unit after denouncing political interference in the stage of Minister Miquel Buch (Junts).
In case there was any doubt, the major has been against the independent police control mechanism that some countries have and that is advocated by left-wing groups and human rights defenders. In his opinion, that function can continue to be carried out by the police itself through the Internal Affairs unit. According to the major, the work of this new institution would be “little rigorous.”
“I trust in the work that the Mossos do, I do not give someone else a kindness for free that I take from the body. I have seen cases of external companies that in the end it is the Mossos that end up doing the work, while others get paid ”, he has settled. An example of what Trapero’s obsession has always been: shielding police work and defending the professionalism of the body. No matter who likes it.
The depth of Trapero’s words has been such that a very relevant intervention before the commission of the deputy prosecutor of the Superior Prosecutor’s Office of Catalonia, Pedro Ariche, has been left in the background. The number two of the Community Prosecutor’s Office has unequivocally criticized the “constant changes” of recent times in the Mossos d’Esquadra and has rejected any type of political interference in the investigations.
“The continuous change in the direction of the police is perplexing, since it implies continuous changes of interlocutors and changes of projects. We ask for a certain stability from the Mossos commanders”, Ariche claimed.
The prosecutor has also called them “inadmissible” and has rejected “interference of any kind” in those responsible for the judicial police investigations. He has recalled that these agents depend organically on judges and prosecutors, and that neither their hierarchical superiors, nor officials from the Department of the Interior or other politicians, “as has been the case”, can ask them for information.
In his last intervention, Ariche has revealed that he has learned from the press of the new protocol on evictions presented this Thursday by the Mossos, despite the fact that Elena had assured that the document was “validated” by the Prosecutor’s Office. But Ariche did not want to create controversy and has shown constructive will: “Surely we can work to improve the document.”