Staff reporter
THE first of the Balearics' reinforcements in the war against drug smuggling and organised crime arrived in Palma yesterday in the form of a new Guardia Civil launch and its specially trained crew.

The deployment of the new launch and its crew to the Balearics is part of the government's 20 million euro crackdown on organised crime, drug smuggling, arms trafficking and terrorism in Spain. The 57-strong Guardia Civil maritime force in the Balearics now has six high-speed patrol boats. Director General of the Guardia Civil, Carlos Gómez Arruche, who presented the new unit with Balearic governor general Ramón Socías, said that the Guardia Civil in the Balearics now has the resources and equipment to respond to the risks and dangers of the 21st century.

The 30 metre launch Rio Cervantes has a top speed of 35 knots and will also be used in enforcing immigration controls. During the summer, it will help in the fight against the illegal fishing of tuna in Balearic waters.

Also yesterday, Ramón Socías announced that 84 extra National Police recruits will be stationed in the Balearics next year.
The Balearic governor general said that, come November the region will have an extra 124 national Police on the beat and that, within the next four months, the shortfall of police in the Balearics will have finally been resolved.

At present, the region is 30 percent short of police, but come the Spring the deficit should be reduced to just 13 percent.
Ramón Socías said that the Guardia Civil force in the region is “sufficient,” but he added that the gap is in the National Police force.
However, he said that a newly developed plan to fill the gaps in police forces around Spain, in particular the Balearics is “well under way.”


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