CRIME fighters are joining forces to beef up the battle against criminals in Barcelona.
Officers from both the Catalan regional law enforcement agency, the Mossos d’Esquadra, and the Spanish National Police have formed a coalition to fight the increasing number of crimes committed on the streets of Barcelona.
The Catalan capital is currently experiencing a record number of street crime and youth delinquency and figures have shown that since 2018, crime rates have risen by 17%. There has also been an increase of 30% on violent thefts.
Since April, officers from both units have been patrolling the city in an attempt to clamp down on thefts, drug dens and pickpockets.
The National Police are also checking immigration papers of any of the apprehended suspects, an ability that only they can execute, and issuing deportation orders for repeat offenders of foreign nationality.
In their latest operation, officers from both forces conducted a patrol of the cities subway system. Currently there are around 100 known pickpockets operating in the underground at any one time.
Although patrols aren’t a new thing, the presence of the National Police has given the Mossos extra authorities to check the statuses of the offenders in Spain.
During the operation, officers identified 70 people, 30 of whom were taken to the police station in La Verneda. After checking their documents, the National Police held 22 individuals for violating immigration laws, and those with a long criminal record will face deportation.
Although the two forces often work together during investigations, this first for a joint patrol has come about after the Mossos were admitted into the Intelligence Centre Against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), a coalition that brought together the organisations properly for the first time.
Relations have also improved between he two forces after tensions boiled over during the secession attempt by Catalan separatists.
Appointments in top positions following the unauthorized independence referendum of October 1 have led to better working relationships and have led to this joint venture in battling street crime in Barcelona.