It is not just in Palma where extra police are being demanded.

31-05-2016A. Sepulveda

Following a meeting today between the regional government and the national government's delegation to the Balearics, a demand is being sent to the national interior ministry for greater numbers of National Police and Guardia Civil officers to be stationed on the islands this summer.

The regional minister for public administration, Catalina Cladera, was responding to calls for greater security force power by 25 municipalities - all of them in Majorca except one in Minorca. These municipalities have been petitioning the government to demand increased police numbers, as they fear that there will be insufficient cover for the anticipated volume of tourists. They also have constraints on hiring more local police because of national government's budgetary rules for local authorities.

Cladera is to ask for a meeting with the interior minister (acting, as are all ministers at present), Jorge Fernández Díaz. "It seems that the number of additional National Police and Guardia Civil officers will be the same as last year. We consider this to be insufficient for islands which live from tourism."

The municipalities are clearly not all ones with coastal resorts. Those in Majorca's interior are requiring their local police forces to deal with matters such as drug trafficking which are really ones for the state police forces. Demands on local police units are such that they have been assuming responsibilities that don't entirely correspond to their own.

In coastal municipalities the increases in the floating population place additional strains on the local forces and also mean that they have to intervene in issues that aren't strictly speaking their responsibility. This is resulting in the local security boards being unable to comply with their functions of coordinating the different forces (local police with Guardia and/or National Police).

A reduction in the hours that police stations are open (in line with European labour law) is also creating a perception of loss of control, with the public finding that there is slow and ineffective response to phone calls in the afternoons/evenings.

Reinforcements have been scheduled to come to the islands on 1 July. This is considered to be too late, a point that has been made by Palma's mayor, José Hila, in the row that the town hall has been having with the government's delegation over National Police levels in the city.


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