Hotels in Playa de Palma have offered to accommodate National Police officers. | José Antonio Ramírez


On Tuesday, the mayor of Palma, Jaime Martínez, announced that tougher penalties for anti-social behaviour will be introduced under a revised bylaw. He was speaking at the ITB Berlin tourism fair. His message was therefore concerned with Playa de Palma, a resort area that has been known to attract around a quarter of all German tourists in the Balearics over the course of one year.

While the tourism sector in Playa de Palma has welcomed the adoption of an 'Amsterdam model', so named because of that city's heavy fines, there is some scepticism about the town hall's measures. As ever, they can only be effective if they are enforced. And this means having sufficient numbers of police.

Juanmi Ferrer is the CEO of the Palma Beach association. Reflecting on the 2023 season, he was one of those who reckoned that it had been the worst ever in terms of insecurity and bad behaviour. He has therefore certainly welcomed "the message being sent to the German public", but it will all depend on having greater police presence.

Martínez explained in Berlin that there would be an increase in local police numbers and that he would be holding talks with the Spanish government's delegation in the Balearics regarding a "significant" increase in National Police reinforcements.

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However, this can be easier said than done, one issue being accommodation for police who come from the mainland for the season.

Pedro Marín, the president of the Playa de Palma hoteliers association, points out that the hoteliers have offered to help in this regard. Last November, the association promised to provide rooms for ten police officers. This number was mentioned at the time and was said to represent a "decisive reinforcement to reduce criminal activity". He adds that if there were to be more officers, this wouldn't be a problem. The offer stands, however many rooms might be needed. "The important thing is that a significant number arrive who can make a difference; not just two or three officers."

Marín advocates there being Guardia Civil officers. "Whether it's because they are a military body or for other reasons, they always command more respect." But Palma, like other major cities, is first and foremost National Police territory, while Guardia Civil reinforcements are needed for other resorts in Mallorca - Magalluf, for instance.

As to mixed patrols with police from other countries, something that the mayor valued during his presentation in Berlin, Marín doubts their efficiency. This scepticism extends to the bylaw. "The new ordinance will be good, but the problem will be enforcing it."