Catalan government moves to eradicate police abuse
THE regional government of Catalunya has announced plans to install video cameras in all Barcelona police stations.
The move comes after several reports of abuse at the hands of officers of the Mossos d’Esquadra police force.
Brussels has been recommending the use of video cameras in Barcelona police stations since 2005 after the EU Commission on Human Rights received 197 complaints of police mistreatment in Catalunya between 2002 and 2004.
Police trade unions have welcomed the move, but have maintained the cameras should be clearly on view and not hidden.
“Our obligation is to safeguard the integrity of detainees. It will be positive to have the cameras on show,” a spokesman for trade union Sindicato Mossos d’Esquadra-Comisiones Obreras said.
Valentín Anadón, a representative of the union Policía-UGT, claims his union have been asking for the installation of video cameras in the interrogation rooms of Mossos d’Esquadra stations for several years.
Police stations are expected to be fitted out with the video cameras before the summer of 2008.
Reports of abuse are not limited to Barcelona, however. Seven National Police officers have appeared in court in Madrid for allegedly beating two youths they had earlier arrested for urinating in the street.
Amnesty International has criticised Spain for its record of police torture and abuse (the Olive Press, issue 25).