THE Balearics has a crime problem and renewed cross-party pressure was yesterday put on central government in Madrid to increase the number of police in the region.
Having digested the latest crime figures which have revealed that the Balearics has the third highest level of crime in Spain, spokesperson for the ruling Partido Popular party in the Balearics, Miguel Ramis, said yesterday that the region clearly has a problem with crime. He added that it is however logical for the crime statistics for a region which attracts so many tourists, many more than any other region in Spain to be high.
Nevertheless, Ramis admitted that the Balearics does have a problem which we all need to make a great effort to help resolve. But Ramis said that, before the Balearics starts taking action, central government in Madrid has to recognise the reality of the situation in the Balearics and stop basing its approach to the region on a population of just under a million.
For the past year, the Balearics has been trying to persuade Madrid into recognising that during the summer, the population nearly doubles and that so does the pressure on the Balearic police forces.
Ramis even suggested that it should be Madrid that foots the bill for deploying extra National Police and members of the Guardia Civil in the Balearics and cover the costs of the extra pay members of the national security forces receive for moving to the Balearics.
Ramis's concerns were echoed by the Majorca Union party.
They too have called for more police claiming that, for an area so dependent on tourism, public security and safety is absolutely paramount. However, the UM does not see the solution lying in Madrid, but with the creation of an autonomous Balearic police force.
UM sources said yesterday that a Balearic force must be created as soon as possible in order to reduce the crime rate of 35 per 1'000 inhabitants.
Not content with a mere increase in the number of police, the Majorcan Union Party, led by the president of the Council of Majorca, Maria Antonia Munar, also wants to see central government increase its budget for Balearic policing so that the forces have the necessary means to adequately fight crime.
Along with the region of Madrid, Balearic police forces carried out the least number of arrests during the first quarter of this year, figures which have caused a great deal of alarm and concern.