The nine members of the Palma local police arrested on alleged corruption charges began appearing before a remand hearing today. The National Police, which is in charge of the investigation, has made it clear that the investigation in Palma is still ongoing and that further arrests could be made over the coming days. The nine suspects, who include two former senior members of the force which have since been demoted, face alleged charges of bribery, coercion, falsifying documents and helping cadets through their exams. Most of the alleged extortion being investigated at the moment was carried out along the Paseo Maritimo, Joan Miro and Gomila, although it does apparently stretch to clubs, bars and other tourism businesses along the Playa de Palma.
However, while they were appearing in court, the Balearic minister for finance and public administration, Catalina Cladera, admitted that there is a “lack of stability” in some of the local police forces in the Balearics, especially, according to the minister, in the resorts and tourist areas.
During yesterday’s parliamentary session, Cladera said that there is a need for the local police forces to be “more loyal and caring to their municipalities and that the model of policing is a much closer one and that is what we want to encourage and introduce by talking to the various local police forces.”
She also hinted that there may be a shake-up of the selection process and that members of the local police will serve on the island where they were trained. She also criticised the former Partido Popular government for having “looked the other way” when it came to keeping an eye on the behaviour of certain local police forces “They missed a golden opportunity in 2013 to have stamped out corruption in the forces but nothing was done, so now we’re going to have to review the situation.”
Palma council sources have revealed that that as many as 30 members of the local police could be involved in the scandal.