THE Balearics is facing a shortage of Local Police.
The shortfall is in the ranks of the Local Police forces where 8.4 percent of places are still vacant and 14 percent of the force are interim policemen and women, according to Balearic Interior Minister José María Rodríguez yesterday.
There are even 22 municipalities in Majorca, for example, which do not have full time Local Police forces, but assistant Local Police which, under new police legislation, will soon be armed.
Nevertheless, José María Rodríguez, stressed the good work the Local Police force is doing. He added that his department is working hard in creating an efficient and modern police force for the future.
He said that, apart from carrying firearms, auxiliary members of the Local Police will have to go through the same training and will be as equally prepared to deal with all kinds of situations.
The Minister explained yesterday that the Balearics is working with a number of other autonomous regions to establish a unified police training programme for students who are thinking of joining either the national, local or the autonomous police forces. Next year, for example, the Balearic University with be offering public security courses for students wishing to take up positions which require university qualifications in the police force.
At present, there are 309 local police recruits in training who should be on the beat by April next year.
He said that, add to those, the 100 tourist police already in place and the Balearics is talking about an extra 400 police on the beat come next Spring.
At present, in Majorca there is a Local Police officer per 380 inhabitants, just shy of the national average of 381. However in municipalities like Alaro, the ratio works out at one officer per 757 inhabitants; Binissalem 653; Lluchmajor 640; and Sa Pobla 636.
It appears that each municipality has a different pay structure and there have been claims recently that the wealthier municipalities like Palma, Calvia and Manacor are luring Local Police away from other areas by offering better pay.
There have also been protests by police over working conditions and poor pay.
In Calvia, for example, there is a Local Police officer per 231 inhabitants and in Manacor, one officer per 340 residents.
In Minorca, it is one per 359 and Ibiza, one per every 397 inhabitants.
In total, there are 1.982 Local Police on the beat in Majorca, 265 in Ibiza, 226 in Minorca and 15 in Formentera and of the nearly 2.500-strong force, only 75 percent are full-time policemen and women.