Palma police - some vehicles are rented. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

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Last week, the publication of minor contracts by Palma town hall showed that the GAP unit (Preventive Action Group), one of the police force's elite units, is patrolling the streets with a hire van due to lack of vehicles - 1,355 euros for renting a five-seater van.

The GAP unit was created in 2007. Its objectives: reducing insecurity by increasing the police presence on the streets; preventing antisocial behaviour, especially vandalism; preventing prostitution on the streets; controlling petty drug dealing and use.

The unit is being hampered by a loss of personnel and resources. Currently, forty vehicles are waiting to be repaired. Unions and police have been demanding an urgent solution for months, as officers are having to patrol on foot.

One of the problems is that garages expect payment in advance to repair vehicles and decline to do so if there are outstanding bills.

There are also issues with the police force's own garage, while the purchase of new vehicles has to go through a lengthy tender and delivery period. Because of this, other town halls use a leasing system by which vehicles are renewed each year.