By Humphrey Carter

THE new Guardia Civil anti-planning corruption unit came into operation across the country yesterday with Balearic politicians on both sides welcoming the new force.

Over the past 12 months, the Balearics and various parts of Spain, in particular Malaga, Valencia and Alicante, have been rocked by major planning corruption scandals, prompting the government to act and set up the new 194-strong unit.

25 members will be based at the Guardia Civil's main headquarters with the rest deployed to each and every one of the force's 54 stations across the country.

However, while the decision by the director general of the National Police and the Guardia Civil, Jaume Mesquida, was welcomed yesterday, the Balearic Interior Minister José María Rodríguez, urged the director general not to stop here and to use the extra human resources to step up the protection of the environment.

He also reminded Mesquida that the balearics needs more National Police and Guardia Civil to combat rising crime in general.
Ironically, José María Rodríguez was caught up in the Andtratx planning scandal when he was initially accused of being the “mole” who tipped-off the former mayor of Andratx just days before he was arrested by the Guardia Civil serious fraud squad. He adamantly denied the accusations and ignored calls for him to resign.