Catalunya has its own independent police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, under the command of Artur Mas and the Generalitat. Since 2008, they have replaced almost completely in the region the Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional, both of which are under the control of Spain's Interior Ministry. I remember one rare occasion when I took a cab back to Barcelona airport the driver's nervousness at encountering a national police roadblock on one of the airport approach roads. The national forces retain jurisdiction in Catalunya over matters such as terrorism, firearms, immigration and port and airport security. The driver's mumbled warning made clear there was no love lost between the 'Madrid' police and the locals.
And now as Madrid, with Berlaymont's encouragement, is gently back pedalling on many of the power transfers to the ARs, policing is not exempt. The military are making bellicose noises, and Rajoy is walking on eggshells in having to defuse this spike of Catalunyan nationalism as a test of civilian political competence. Madrid is moving its tanks slowly onto Mas' lawn, albeit softly and with rubber tracks. It has instituted joint patrols in Castelldefels and Saint Boi between the Mossos and the PN - a move it is being claimed that is increasing tensions locally between the various force commanders. Further moves to push the local jurisdiction to be more proactive in identifying the holders of firearms to the national authorities are also seen as trespassing on Catalunya's autonomy, though this is a legitimate national competence.
The Interior Ministry has also upset the Bombera, the Catalunyan fire brigade, by ordering that 'Starry', the Catalan flag, must not be flown at fire stations in the region. A Bombera spokesman responded "When a law is unjust it is more correct to disobey it. Independence is the path to dignity - Starry everywhere!"
This is one to watch.