Three years and two weeks after he was suspended, Chief Superintendent Josep Lluís Trapero has been reinstated as leader of the 17,000-strong Catalan police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra. Catalan Interior Minister Miquel Sàmper made the announcement after a conversation with Trapero on Thursday morning, during which the Chief Superintendent stated that he was willing to lead the Mossos again. The day after Trapero was cleared of all charges by Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional court [in the case of the 2017 failed independence bid], Minister Sàmper declared that Trapero would be offered his old job back, if he would have it. Trapero asked for some time to consider the offer and the minister obliged. Eventually a ministerial press release confirmed that Trapero had informed Sàmper that “he was looking forward to leading the police force again”, three weeks after being acquitted.
On Thursday afternoon the minister met Eduard Sallent, the incumbent commander of the Catalan police to “thank him for his service” and inform him about the change. Sallent was given the top job in the Mossos d’Esquadra in June 2019 and is the third officer to have led the force following Trapero’s suspension. Later on Thursday Minister Sàmper had his first work meeting with Trapero, accompanied by deputy interior minister Beth Abad and Pere Ferrer, the director of the police. Sàmper and Trapero were due to meet the force’s top brass on Friday at the Mossos HQ near Barcelona city.
On 28 October 2017 Trapero was dismissed by the Spanish government when Catalan home rule was suspended by the Spanish senate. He was allowed to hold on to his rank all this time, but kept a very low profile working from an office in the Les Corts Precinct in Barcelona city. The Chief Superintendent was busy readying his defence as he faced rebellion charges over the 1 October 2017 independence referendum. The Prosecutor was initially pushing for an 11-year prison sentence, but by the time the trial was held in Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional court, disobedience charges were pressed instead, which do not carry a prison sentence. Eventually Trapero was found not guilty of all counts, which paved the way for him to be reinstated.