During lockdown we grew accustomed to police drive-bys. Sirens wailing, lights flashing, the police and other emergency services wanted to thank people for abiding by the rules. In Santa Margalida on Thursday, the local police staged another drive-by. This one was a protest. It was directed at the town hall and a cut to the number of officers.
Two weeks ago, I highlighted the row between the town hall and the police. Things had come to a head; the acting chief of police announced that he was quitting. The local force explained that there should be forty officers for Santa Margalida. There were 22, two of whom were on sick leave. Four of the officers were planning on moving to municipalities where they pay more.
Mayor Joan Monjo said that there was to be a budget reduction and that 38 police jobs for which there had been provision in previous budgets (even if not all of these jobs had materialised) would be cut to 30. There was a meeting at which the tension between the two sides - it was said - had been lessened.
Monjo observed that there were “no insurmountable differences”, but the police union clearly thought differently.
There was a council meeting on Thursday. To coincide with this, 25 vehicles took to the road, sirens wailing and lights flashing. Banners had been put out that were “obituaries” to the loss of service. The cuts were approved. Rather than any lessening of tension, it seems only to have heightened.