THE murder of two Spanish teenagers on the mainland has quite understandably shocked the country. What is also disturbing is that British police warned their Spanish counterparts that Tony King, the man who they are holding for the murders, was dangerous and had been sentenced for various attacks on women in Britain. The so-called Holloway Strangler moved to Spain six years ago. Through Interpol the British police put out the alert. But for some unknown reason Spanish police failed to act on the tip-off they got from Britain. The only excuse which has been put forward so far is that they receive thousands of similar tip-offs every year and they don't have the necessary resources to investigate all of them. I read with interest an item in our UK Media Monitor column over the weekend which echoed a report in a British newspaper by a Spanish journalist who claimed that the so-called Costa killings showed that the British police force were competent while their Spanish colleagues were not. In the light of the King affair there are now widespread calls for change within the Spanish police forces. One of the most sensible proposals is to merge the National Police and the Guardia Civil into one force. There is too much duplication and boundaries of responsibilities can become mixed.
Presently the Guardia Civil has control of rural areas while the National Police is charged with cities and large towns. This is fine but both forces have their own specialised squads to deal with the more sinistor crimes. By pooling resources I am sure that a single force could work more effectively. The Spanish Ministry for the Interior (Home Office) is expected to order an inquiry into the police investigation of the two murders and it could end with a radical police shake-up.