One of the four other police officers implicated arrives at court. | ALEJANDRO SEPULVEDA

A Palma judge, Manuel Penalva, has ordered the detention without bail of five Palma local police officers who face potential charges that include membership of a criminal organisation, extortion and sexual assault. The judge issued this order after hearing some eight hours of testimony from five of the nine officers arrested on Sunday as part of an investigation into alleged corruption within the Palma police force.

The five officers have been revealed as Gabriel M.A., Gabriel T.P., Josep M.A., Antonio G.H., and Juan Manuel T.L. The anti-corruption prosecution service is being headed in this case by Miguel Angel Subirán, and of those detained one is an inspector from the local police and one from the Green Patrol force. The prosecution service suspects that various officers have shown favour to certain club owners in different parts of Palma and been engaged in coercion and extortion against others.

Alternative clubs
It is also believed that officers were involved in giving certain owners of "alternative" clubs advance warning of inspections and that they turned a blind eye to the presence of underage prostitutes who, among other labour abuses, were not legally registered as residents.

Today, the remaining four of the nine appeared before judge Penalva who said that he suspects that the police were acting under the protection of certain politicians and that everything points towards "a properly organised criminal gang involving members of the local police and politicians."

Council stepping in
To make matters worse for the local police force, Palma town hall announced today that the councillor for citizen security is going to assume some of the force’s responsibilities, such as working conditions, movement between units and police recruitment in a bid to help the crackdown on corruption in the force and have a greater "level of control" over the nearly 900 members of Palma’s local police force.

The mayor, Jose Hila, will officially give the green light for this move tomorrow.