At a time when a young man was stabbed in the town area in broad daylight and where a 14 year old boy was incarcerated for possession of a large amount of drugs with intent to supply, add the growing trends of violent crime which continues unabated, together with the never ending list of drug related crime reported to the police, we hear that the RGP have dismantled two of their main ‘Crime Departments’ leaving only a skeleton crew to set up ‘Tobacco Patrols’ all in an attempt to stifle the exportation of tobacco.
Numerous people are astonished that the police who only a week ago mounted another manpower draining operation, on that occasion on money changing in premises who were allegedly unlicensed, should now turn their attention and focus away again from the many crime related issues that many believe, should be top of the lists of policing priorities!
Members of the public are quite rightly questioning why are the police now concentrating and focusing all their efforts and resources on certain issues, and at the same time arresting and charging people for offences that are much more in the domain of the Customs Department? Questions are also being asked like ' why are the police drastically and dangerously reducing their daily manpower crime capabilities, when incidents of crime have never been any higher and more concerning to the public.’
It is also the belief of many that the RGP have lost touch with the concerns of the public. Even the result of the last public survey issued some months back by the Police Authority was very explicit; the public again repeated those similar policing concerns as in previous years; these were in order of priority:
• Supply & misuse of drugs
• Under-age drinking
• Environmental offences
• Careless and indiscriminate driving
The above are only the first five or six of the list of public concerns included in the Police authority’s public survey this year. Concerns about tobacco didn’t even come into the first ten issues of public concerns; something that many think is entirely the competence of the Gibraltar Customs Department.
What is the use of bothering to seek the views of the public to establish the things that worries them in relation to crime and other issues, when the police then appear to ignore what the public have repeatedly told them, and then go off at a tangent to focus on other issues which possibly are not essentially police matters.
Many people also feel that the Police Authority and the Police promise much in their yearly policing documents, but than on the ground and in reality, do something else!
In the last annual policing plan the main crime objectives stated that:
The response to any criminal activity in Gibraltar must continue to promote confidence in the RGP and reduce the fear of crime. The RGP should continue to utilise an intelligence led and problem solving style of policing which enables the Force to proactively target offenders and problem areas. The Authority endorses that the RGP intends to focus on reducing crime by adopting two strategies, as appropriate: Prevent and deter and catch and convict. The RGP will be asked to continue to develop a range of approaches which will be deployed with a mix of focusing as appropriate on the offender, the victim and/or the location depending on the particular crime or lawlessness’
The public would be well within their rights to question current policing activities and for that matter the supervision of the present policing plan by the Police Authority, who after all, issues the plan itself. Observers find it difficult to understand that with constant rising trends of violent crime particularly with a weapon (stabbings) and many other drug related issues involving crime - underage drinking and other high public concerns like environmental issues - litter and dog fouling and others that the police focus their attention and all available manpower on matters that many think, are best dealt with by the competent authority as in the case Gibraltar Customs Dept.
Do you see over the frontier in Spain the National Police or the Municipal Police getting themselves involved in customs related operations at the frontier, or anywhere else, particularly on issues like tobacco? Something that is clearly the jurisdiction of the Guardia Civil!
Man About Town