By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearics is facing a major policing crisis according to the Balearic Interior Minister José María Rodríguez who yesterday claimed that the region's police force needs to be doubled in order to cope with rising crime and the growing population. On Monday, Rodríguez called for an urgent meeting with the central government delegate to the Balearics, Ramon Socias, to thrash out the police problem and find some urgent solutions. Yesterday, stepping up the pressure on those responsible here and in Madrid, he said there is a 50 percent shortfall in the National police force and the Guardia Civil. He explained that police chiefs and the government have failed to take into account the growing resident population and the floating population of millions of tourists during the summer. In short, the Minister has accused Madrid of getting their sums wrong, hence the Balearics is short of police and has been for years.
He added that, not only does the Balearics attract millions of tourists every summer, it is also a magnet for criminals.
Rodríguez claims that the current size of the police force is more suited to cope with the 750'000 people who lived in the region five years ago, not today with the population just a few inhabitants short of one million. “We obviously need more police here and the government has to start taking the necessary action to resolve the problem and make sure that visitors to the Balearics and foreign residents who decide to set up home here “receive the necessary protection.” Rodríguez said that there is a reason why the Balearics, for the second consecutive year, has the second highest crime rate in Spain. He said it is time that Madrid and the relevant authorities start to analyse the situation in the Balearics and start coming up with some answers. Back in February, central government announced that it would take over responsibility for co-ordinating the state security forces operating in autonomous regions like the Balearics but, according to Rodríguez, neither a single meeting has been held nor facts and figures provided about the current crime rate. However, as far as the Balearic Minister is concerned, the crime rate report published just a few days ago in Palma, which indicated a one percent rise on last year, is sufficient evidence for central government to start taking the situation seriously before the crime wave in the Balearics gets worse.


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