By Humphrey Carter
AS part of the nation-wide battle to halt the current wave of organised crime the Guardia Civil is setting up a new serious crime squad which will be operational within the next few days. The director general of the Guardia Civil, Joan Mesquida, announced that, as part of the new Organised Crime Intelligence Centre being set up by the government, the Balearics' new serious crime squad will be in place next week and will be operated by eight of the 158 new members of the Guardia Civil who were officially sworn in to the Balearic security force yesterday. Mesquida said that once the new intelligence centre is up and running then new Guardia Civil serious crime squads will be working in close co-operation with the other domestic and international police forces to try and stop the wave of serious crimes being carried out across the country by highly trained criminal gangs of former Eastern European special forces and police. A few years ago, Calvia was hit by a gang of Eastern Europeans who were using “a military-style gas” to render inhabitants, even a dog in one case, unconscious while they ransacked the property of valuables. But, Mesquida is confident that the new injection of Guardia Civil recruits, the biggest in the Balearics over the past two years, will significantly help to improve security across the board. In fact, come the end of July, a total of 199 new members of the Guardia Civil will have been stationed here in the Balearics since the start of the year and the shortfall in the force has apparently been filled. Central government representative to the Balearics, Ramón Socías, who welcomed the new recruits at yesterday's ceremony, said that they were all destined for “citizen security” tasks before proclaiming that the region's Guardia Civil force is now nearly twice the size it was in 2002. Socias also welcomed Mesquida's decision to order a full investigation in to the problems members of the force encounter when stationed in the Balearics and the reasons why many leave to return to the mainland as soon as their training has been completed in the region.

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