By Humphrey Carter
A fleet of 85 new Local Police cars was shared among Majorca's 43 municipal forces yesterday but first stop was the nearest petrol station.
The brightly coloured red, yellow and purple police vehicles were unveiled by the Balearic Interior Minister José María Rodríguez at a grand presentation in Palma yesterday morning. But, no sooner had the keys been handed over, the majority had to nip round to the nearest petrol station in Calle Aragon where a long queue of new police cars formed as they were all running on their reserve tanks.

Police sources also confirmed that at least one ran out of fuel on its way to its destination in Alcudia after an eagle-eyed Bulletin reader passed the broken down vehicle near Pont D'Inca and contacted the paper.

What is more, while the local government has provided the basic shells, the Local Police Forces and corresponding councils have to cover the cost of fitting and equipping the new vehicles themselves.

The 85 vehicles bring the total number of new Local Police diesel Citroen Xsara Picassos brought into service this year to 108. Thirteen are going to Minorca, eight to Ibiza and two to Formentera.

The new vehicles and colour scheme are all part of plans to modernise the Local Police force and José María Rodríguez said that for some of the smaller local councils, the vehicles will improve the capabilities of the local police force significantly. Modernising and improving the Local Police force across Majorca has also involved the recruiting of 129 tourist police earlier this year. There are a further 100 places being made available on the Tourist Police Force in January. The aim is to have an extra 532 Local Police on the beat for the various local forces across the island by 2005.

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