The Wednesday meeting.

The Balearic government's announcement of the creation of 120 so-called Covid agents to support local police forces has been greeted with astonishment by the police themselves.

The minister for public function, Mercedes Garrido, made this announcement at a meeting of mayors and representatives of the Felib federation of town halls on Wednesday. The agents will be able to perform certain police functions but will not, for example, have the power of arrest.

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Chiefs of local police forces are said to have "freaked out" at the idea of this proposed support, questioning whether the agents will have sufficient training. Mayors themselves raised this at the meeting and were told that agents would be drawn from candidates for police jobs over the past five years who failed to obtain a post. When asked for more specific detail about training, Garrido and government representatives were apparently unable to give any.

There are mayors who accept that these agents will provide some reinforcement but who also point out that they will not be long-term solutions. "Bread for today, hunger for tomorrow" are the words of one mayor, who also believes the initiative is too late. By the time that the Covid agents are on the street, it will be the start of August at the earliest, and much of the tourism season will already have passed.

What the town halls really need, and this point was made at the Wednesday meeting, is a streamlining of procedures to enable them to recruit new and more police officers.