FOR nearly two years now, local police in Calvia have been cracking down on night-time tourist zone crime aided and abetted by two special task force quad bikes with recent reports showing that delinquency has been reduced by as much as 200 percent.

Known coloquially as “Kings of the Sand,” officers can speed across sandy surfaces to which the four-wheeled drive vehicles are perfectly adapted. For mischief makers who previously would merely escape from public walkways onto the unlit sand, the sight of law and order speeding unstoppably across the beach towards them has become a veritable nightmare.

The tourist zone of Calvia continues to be a hub for holiday-makers and locals wanting to enjoy bars, clubs and other forms of entertainment. The development of this leisure industry however, comes accompanied by delinquency, violence and unbridled sex. One of the duties of the quad patrol during the day is to keep a watch over the beaches to keep a check on any illegal activity such as wandering fruit salesmen, and to protect bathers from sneak thieves. But it is at night when the quad patrol really comes into its own with the officers collaborating extensively with their colleagues, both in uniform and plain clothes. Only two days ago, two dangerous and aggressive Romanian criminals - the most sought-after in the area - were apprehended with the aid of the quad bike operation. Levels of delinquency had reached such a pitch 3 to 4 years ago that hotel groups and companies operating the sun bed and sun shade hire businesses on the principal beaches of Calvia invested in private security firms to provide protection.

Before the introduction of the quad bike squad on the beaches of Palmanova and Magalluf, the rate of robbery both with and without violence stood at an average of 15 a day. Now that figure has climbed down to only two or three but thieves are still getting away with robbing around 1'000 euros a night.

The local police staffing levels at night in Calvia stands at about 30 officers, half of which concentrate purely on the Palmanova and Magalluf areas. One police unit is dedicated exclusively to the eradication of wandering salesmen who have no license to peddle their wares.

Other measures being taken by local police are stop and search controls using metal detectors to check anybody, usually groups of “hooligans” they suspect of carrying knives. The checks are random and since they have been in operation the incidence of knife carrying has decreased notably. As a result of crime prevention and a global economic crisis, this year, say local authorities, has been one of the quietest ever recorded.

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