SPAIN: It will now be easier to identify Catalan police officers – proposal voted by the Parliament implemented

(Article by Naciolleida – 29 January 2020, accessible here in Catalan)

Author: Andreu Merino

Law enforcement officers of the Catalan police will wear a short number on the front and behind the uniform and also on the helmet, as requested by Parliament.
The General Director of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Pere Ferrer, has committed with the Parliamentary Interior Committee to apply the proposal voted by the House on November 12, and called for anti-riot units to be more easily identifiable. Specifically, he proposed that a police operative number (NOP) is to be worn on the front and back of the uniform and also on the helmet. Also that this must be short and easy to remember.
The proposal was presented by the Catalan group En Comú Podem and went ahead with the support of JxCat, ERC, PSC and CUP. Ciutadans and the PP abstained.
The vote took place one month after the actions of Mossos and riot police, as well as the Spanish national police, provoked controversy because of deviant practices during protests over the judge’s ruling of 1-O [over the Catalan independence referendum of 2017].

The identification number is indispensable, precisely, in analysing cases of police malpractice, and the proposal by the commons came after several groups, headed by the Irídia Human Rights Center, called for the measure. In fact, the proposal of En Comú Podem comes from the previous work done by Iridia and Amnesty International.
This is not the first time the Interior Department has made a commitment to visibly identify the anti-rioters police, and it has not always complied. In 2013, the then-Minister of Interior, Ramon Espadaler, already ensured that agents had an identification number affixed to their protective vests on the back. However, since then it has been common practice that the measure was not implemented.

Critics of the major police union

The biggest union of the Mossos d’Esquadra, SAP-FEPOL, has criticized the measure announced by Ferrer, which he describes as “the revisor”.

SAP-FEPOL deems the modification of the NOP unnecessary and considers the Mossos as one of the most “trustworthy” police in Europe.