By Humphrey Carter
A force of 340 extra National Police men and women are going to be deployed in the Balearics this summer as part of the annual summer security operation. “Operation summer”, which also involves the Guardia Civil, will start on July 1 across the country. Security is always especially tight in the Balearics because it is not only the summer holiday destination for the Spanish royal family and, occasional foreign royal or political guests, the region is also one of Spain's busiest holiday resorts with millions of people for the various security forces to look after. The Secretary of State for Security announced yesterday that a total of 340 National Police members, including 40 training officers, will be coming to the Balearics over the next few weeks. This year the main tasks for the National Police will be securing the ports, airports, Palma sea front, the Playa de Palma and providing support, when needed, for the Royal protection squads.
RAPID REACTION
Five of the new 45-strong UIP rapid reaction units are to be deployed in the Balearics and 50 officers are being assigned to the Mobile Unit which will be responsible for on-board policing on passenger ferries. The 40 officer trainees will be helping the remaining National Police to reinforce the sniffer dog teams, the NBQ (nuclear, biological and chemical) units, the Tedax bomb squad and the control centres. The State Department for Security believes that the reinforcements are sufficient for the chief of Police in Palma to be able to respond to any kind of security problem over the summer and ensure maximum citizen protection. This year, Balearic police chief has laid out a number of new targets for Operation Summer.
There will be a concerted crackdown on petty crime, in particular in the main tourist resorts and the first steps have already been taken.
For the past two weeks “bus sheriffs,” plain clothed police men and women have been covering the number 15 bus line between Palma and Arenal cracking down on pick pockets. Undercover police have also been busy identifying and locating the infamous carnation sellers and the “trileros” con artists. “We have at least 90 percent of them located and identified,” police sources revealed yesterday.
The police will also be cracking down on mugging and bag snatching.
PORT SECURITY
One of the biggest security step-ups will be in the ports.
On July 1, the same day on which Operation Summer gets underway, a new European Union directive comes into force stipulating that all ferry and cruise passengers, and their luggage, pass through the same security checks as at all airports. All sea passengers, leaving or arriving in the Balearics, will be scanned and all luggage has got to be checked. The National Police will be significantly increasing its presence at Balearic sea ports to make sure the new security norms are complied with. There will be a noticeable increase in National Police men and women in shopping centres, at key bus stops, in big stores, entertainment complexes and the popular nightlife spots. Police sources also revealed yesterday that special units will be based at local airports to identify and monitor the activities of known criminal gangs, especially pick pockets and bag snatchers from the mainland. “Crime is on the decline in the Balearics, which is encouraging considering some 10 million tourists come here every year,” a police source said yesterday “but, those kinds of figures also attract professional criminals from the mainland so we have got to be on top of their movements all the time,” the police source added.

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