Palma Police HQ. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


Earlier this week, Sergi Torrandell, the Llucmajor chief of police and one of the most prominent senior police officers in Mallorca, took colleagues by surprise by in effect resigning.

Torrandell, who was previously Marratxi's chief, has recently found himself very much in the public frontline as well as that of the Llucmajor force because of issues in Arenal. He has asked to be removed from frontline duties.

He is 60, and in a letter to his colleagues he readily acknowledges this: "Age does not forgive, nor does health." However, his letter also says: "The impasse experienced in recent months, where knowledge often prevails over the combination of knowledge and experience, has taken its toll at a personal level, so with great regret I inform you that I have made the decision to request secondary activity for personal reasons; a cliché, of course."

This has been interpreted as a reference to disagreements with the town hall. In this regard, Torrandell is by no means the first police officer to point to relationships with political 'masters'.

Last week it emerged that Manuel Prieto, the chief of the Manacor Police, had presented his resignation to the mayor, Miquel Oliver. This followed what was reported as a very tense meeting at which voices were raised. Prieto later told officials at the town hall that he had reached the end of his tether, that he couldn't take any more and that his health came first. Officially, his resignation was for "personal reasons".

On top of these two cases is the news of an inspector with the Palma force who retired in 2022 and has filed a criminal complaint for mobbing, citing various examples of harassment and humiliation. His complaint is against a commander and the former head of the human resources department.

Are these cases just coincidental or do they point to a malaise in the island's local police forces? There is no doubting the fact that the police are under-resourced, that there are increasing demands on their services, that they are confronted with more violent situations. In terms of staffing, two police chiefs have recently referred to the shortage of officers - those of Pollensa and Sa Pobla.

To a large extent, police recruitment is a matter of public finances, but taking on new officers should be a priority given the number of officers heading for retirement.

More than the finances, however, are issues related to culture, both that of police forces and of town halls. In the case of the Palma inspector, for instance, he was suspended from duty in 2015 when corruption allegations linked in part to what became the 'Cursach case' (the owner of BCM, among other establishments) came to light. He was cleared of all charges in 2019, when he was owed 125,000 euros for proportional non-payment during his suspension. The head of HR, it is alleged, then "blocked" his rights.

The Palma force was demoralised by the allegations, mostly all of which were to prove to have been false. Political change at the town hall has since sought to re-establish the moral.