TRAFFIC POLICE COVERED 2,6 MILLION KILOMETRESLAST year, nearly 60'000 traffic fines were handed out in the Balearics, 841 arrests and 100.000 incidents were responded to by the Guardia Civil Traffic police for various offences. With one of the highest ratios of vehicles per inhabitant in the world, policing traffic in the Balearics is a demanding task, especially when there is a shortage of police. Last year the regional Guardia Civil introduced, as part of a pilot scheme, single officer patrols in vehicles fitted with state of the art monitoring and recording devices, such as laser-guided speed cameras which can also record vehicle number plates, lap top computer systems, digital cameras and video cameras, most of which are fitted with infra-red lenses for recording images at night. The pilot scheme was experimented with in various other regions of Spain, especially traffic black spots, and proved a success. However, Guardia Civil traffic chiefs said yesterday that being able to split up the traditional two-traffic police patrols, in the Balearics, resources were used to their maximum effect. However, the Guardia Civil was quick to stress that the need for more members in the Balearics is greater than ever. Traffic police worked 224.719 hours, covered just under three million kilometres in the Balearics last year during 13.088 patrols - in total, the Guardia Civil traffic police covered 150 million kilometres across the country. In the Balearics the Guardia Civil is facing the same problem as the National Poice, the high cost of living in the region is no where near compensated by the island waiting extra police are entitled to for relocating to the Balearics to work. Hence, there has been a sharp fall in the number of Civil Guard and National Police opting for a Balearic posting and why the region is short of over 300 policemen and women. The newly appointed central government delegate to the Balearics Antoni Ramis has given assurances that he intends to resolve the police problem - but many local opposition parties and resident associations claim that the problems have to be solved now.
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