By Humphrey Carter
THE police are poised to launch the annual summer security operation which will involve over 400 extra members of the Guardia Civil and National Police being deployed to the Balearics. Central government's delegate in the Balearics, Ramón Socías, said yesterday that the 405 extra National Police and Guardia Civil does not include the security agents involved in protecting the Spanish royal family which will, as is tradition, be spending its summer holiday at Marivent Palace on the outskirts of Palma. However, Socías was keen to point out that this year's deployment involves 13 percent more police than last summer. The security operation, which will be launched at the start of next month, will remain active until the end of September, a month longer than in the rest of the country. Not only will there be extra police on the ground, including a seven-strong bomb squad with a specially trained team of four sniffer dogs, but two extra helicopters will also be based in the Balearics during July and August to complement the three choppers operated by the traffic police, the Guardia Civil and the National Police respectively. Socías explained yesterday that the main purpose of the summer security operation is to ensure the maximum level of safety and security for residents and the millions of tourists who will be visiting the Balearics over the summer. It is because of the large influx of tourists, which balloons the population to eleven-times its normal size, that this year's operation is being extended until the end of September. “Our primary concern is to make sure that everyone can relax and enjoy the summer, the government will not be relaxing this summer,” he said.
Socías explained that the security reinforcements will be working in close co-operation will all the police forces, including the Local Police, and all sectors of the tourist industry. As part of the summer operation, Palma airport has been given permission to open a third flight path for the period July to September, in order to help air traffic flow more fluidly through Palma, the busiest charter airport in Spain during the summer, and reduce air delays. Special attention is also going to be given to road transport. The authorities are worried about the increase in road deaths this year and a summer traffic police plan will be unveiled next week. Socías made it clear that extra Guardia Civil are going to be on traffic duty with support from the air. The fleet of Guardia Civil launches is also going to be enlarged in order to control the thousands of recreational vessels in Balearic waters and also provide extra support to the customs department.

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