The Guardia Civil has been blocking access to long fire arms purchased for the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra for a year, radio program El Món a RAC1 reports, preventing these weapons to be delivered to the Catalan police corps.
On 19th October last year, Catalan Minister of the Interior of the time, Jordi Jané, sent a request to the Spanish Secretary of state for Security, Francisco Martínez Vázquez, for authorization to purchase the weapons – necessary in the face of a level 4 terrorist alert, out of a possible 5- and the Spanish minister of the interior took a month to respond. The response was yes, but the Catalan Interior Minister was told to wait for the go-ahead from the Guardia Civil ho had to OK the operation.
Current Catalan Minister of the Interior, Joaquim Forn, told the radio program that these weapons are necessary, otherwise “we could find that some of our Mossos would have to patrol the streets without ammunition” and maintained that “they ensured that the issue would be solved by 31st August”. For the time being “they have been putting us off. It is a very worrying matter”, he added.
Patrolling the streets unarmed
Within this package, which is being held by the Guardia Civil, are 5 000 000 cartridges, which are also required for training purposes of new recruits for anti-terrorist action.
Indeed, a Budget allocation of the Generalitat (Catalan Government) is blocked as the Ministry has already signed a contract with the supplier. This type of purchases usually takes a couple of months and Ministre Forn said that they had “never had problems of this kind to purchase material for the Mossos”, which took place approximately once a year.
“We don’t know what to do [, the situation] is inexplicable” he added.
What about Europol?
Besides this issue, Minister Forn also explained that they “had reached an agreement with [the Spanish government] that Catalan Police would join the meetings at [Europol], but this has not occurred. This is why the Catalan Minister sent his Spanish opposite number a letter in which he “reminded him of the weapons issue as well as the undertaking regarding the Mossos inclusion in Europol”.
Almost a month after the terror attacks on Barcelona and Cambrils, the Mossos have still not been included, even though, at the time, after the attack it seemed to be going ahead”. As yet, the Catalan Police do not have “the involvement they expected”, especially anticipating the possibility of a repeat of the 17th August attack.
Minister Forn said that citizens should not feel uneasy if they notice increased police presence, as “it is usual practice” in level 4 alert situation. “We have implemented reinforcements in specific areas of special police interest”, he said.