London.—Criticising a move by Palma City Council which has reduced the number of Local Police officers in the city from 330 to around 100, the Balearic Socialist party (PSIB) warned yesterday that doing away with local policing will generate social problems which were previously kept under control.

PSIB Councillor Antonio Donaire claimed that the Partido Popular (PP) Mayor of Palma, Mateu Isern “hasn't put a single uniformed officer on the streets of the city” but has instead cut staff back to nine units.

The Local Police forces which are left, Donaire claimed, will have to react to social unrest but if the number of officers had been maintained, they would have had the chance to tackle delinquency and community difficulties at their roots.

This “dismantling” of neighbourhood policing, said Donaire, which in the case of the historic centre of Palma has meant that there are now 4 units left out of a previous total of 14, results in a loss of local knowledge. “Local Police are very well informed about the city and municipal infrastructure, social services and town planning” he said, adding that more than 85 percent of Local Police work is at a neighbourhood level.

The PSIB has thus asked the PP to “stop the bloodshed” and that the officers who have been removed from the active units should be reposted to other police divisions such as the Safety Specialists, or the Dog Patrol Units. Neighbourhood policing has now been downgraded to such an extent that the next step is that units are going to disappear altogether from the streets of the city.

The Socialists said that the policy of Isern of making the police a reactionary force as opposed to one of prevention and community policing, rides roughshod over the specialist knowledge of local police and their role as mediators in local disputes. Local Police
Donaire said that it is important that “minor conflict” is resolved before it becomes a major threat to the peace and good will of a city neighbourhood. He warned that the Local Police units which are left are going to have more work than they can cope with, alluding to well known areas of conflict in Sa Gerreria, Plaza Fleming and Plaza Paris where there have been reported problems of street drinking, rubbish accumulation and outcasts living rough.

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