The meeting of mayors on Wednesday. | Govern de les Illes Balears


The Balearic government is to create a force of so-called Covid agents, who will make up for a lack of local police officers.

The minister for the presidency and public function, Mercedes Garrido, told a meeting of mayors and the Felib federation of town halls on Wednesday that there will initially be 120 of these agents.

They will be drawn from applicants for local police jobs over the past five years who did not obtain a position. They will therefore already be familiar with laws and will be able to enforce bylaws, direct traffic, attend the scene of an accident, control capacities and assist with resolving conflicts. They will not have the power of arrest or be involved with criminal matters.

It is expected that the first of these agents will be in place within a month. They will report directly either to mayors or to local police forces. They will have different uniforms to the police.

Some municipalities have been resorting to taking on private security firms to help out. The Covid agents, Felib notes, will offer an "immediate solution" rather than waiting for the process of recruiting temporary police officers, which can take months.

Certain town halls encounter problems with police numbers because officers leave and move to other municipalities where the pay is better. There are also still budgetary constraints that limit recruitment.