For the next few weeks, a sergeant and constable from the West Midlands Police will patrol the streets of maverick resorts Magaluf in Majorca and San Antonio in Ibiza alongside members of Spain’s military police force, the Guardia Civil.
The two officers – both kitted in full British uniform – will spend one week in each resort assisting Spanish colleagues to deal with unruly holidaying Britons as well as supporting British nationals who are victims of crime. It is hoped that their presence at airports, on beaches and in town centres will prove reassuring to locals, expats and British tourists alike. The initiative – a first in the Baleares – has been funded by the Foreign Office (FCO) and is building on an existing scheme in Spain in which other foreign police forces work hand in glove with local officers.
All the same it’s curious that only two officers have been deployed to the islands at a time when thousands of British youths will be heading to both resorts. Unless these two noble officers are Batman and Robin in disguise they’re going to have their work cut out spreading their largesse across Magaluf in Southwest Majorca and San Antonio on the west coat of Ibiza. One wonders why officers from the West Midlands were chosen for the task and whether either speak any Spanish in order to communicate with their Majorcan counterparts.
The two British bobbies will work shifts from 7am until 10pm which is somewhat puzzling given that this is normally the bewitching hour for young British revellers to begin partying in the resorts. It might have proven more effective to patrol from 10pm until 7am to really get under the skin of both bad boy resorts.
In an effort to stamp out antisocial behaviour, drunkenness and tawdry exhibitionism in Magaluf quite Draconian measures were recently introduced to the resort. Incoming young British revellers initially rebelled against the new regulations that included eye-watering fines for drinking, urinating or going naked on the streets. Anyone found climbing from one hotel balcony to another – a not-so-jolly jape known as ‘balconing’ – was threatened with immediate fines of more than £2000 and pub crawls were restricted to groups of just 20 individuals, strictly chaperoned by two registered minders. With increased police presence, life appears to have quietened down in the resort and yet with a massive influx of tourists arriving this month being offered knock-down prices for alcoholic beverages, it’s inevitable that things will start hotting up again.
Meanwhile, with new investment being poured into Magaluf from the likes of Hotel Giant Melia International and new trendy beach bars such as Café del Mar and Nikki Beach popping up on the golden sands, the tide is gradually turning.
Who knows but this could be the first and last summer that Britain needs to send bobbies to the Baleares. If young party animals from the UK begin to feel the heat, they might just jump ship and head for rowdier shores such as Salou on the Spanish mainland, Faliraki in Greece or Marmaris in Turkey.
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