I FOUND Jill Carter's letter regarding services in English at the Palma police station rather strange in that her experience was directly opposite to mine on two occasions.

First let me explain that I can communicate both in Mallorquín and English.
The first occasion was about ten years ago when my application for residency required a copy of my finger prints. Since the form was in English, which the fingerprint officer did not understand, I translated the form to him, so that he could fill in the blanks. Since I was not with the police, he had to get an English speaking police officer to verify my translation. This probably added 15 minutes to my visit.

More recently, I was there to report a stolen item. For those readers who have not had this experience, I will outline the steps through which I went. First one takes a number as one would in a U.K. butcher shop, then take a seat to wait until it is called. When my number came up, I went to the desk where, because I look like an English speaker, a clerk asked me if I needed a translator (no). She passed me back to the officer who would take my report, which I had already written in Spanish. He typed my information on an official form, asking me a few questions in the process and asking me to read it over before signing it. One section (technical police jargon) I did not understand. He, speaking in English, translated it, asking if I wanted him to read it to me in English. “No”, I thanked him and was on my way. A week later as the object was identified at a rasta, I got a call, in English, asking me to identify it (I presume the initial contact in English was based on my residency card data).

Personally, I feel that complaints such as Jill Carter´s should only come after, she had attempted to solve her problem within the system and been denied redress. As it stands, people reading her letter might think that the conditions she experienced were typical of the services offered by the Palma police, which, in this case are not.

Richard Goss



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