|Lorry checking station at Aduana|
LA LÍNEA The National Police union, Sindicato Unificado de Policía (SUP) qualifies the condition of most if not all of the buildings and equipment at the station and at the Gibraltar border as Third World. No wonder. Some 300 officers are stationed here but in a new detailed report, the union insists that not only are the facilities inadequate for the amount of agents using it, but they are also obsolete for the functions they are expected to perform. They are asking either for new premises or at least numerous repairs and renovations to ameliorate the situation. By far the worst facilities are those at the border (see photo), where rust is apparent everywhere, mould and vegetation, too, and frankly alarming, very damp patches close to electricity outlets. At the station in town,>>>there are also numerous problems including cables crossing the rooms that house the 091 emergency call centre, as well as those of the Violent Crimes and Scientific Police units. Some renovations were carried out a few years ago but the union says these were just not enough. The holding cells in the basement continue to flood when it rains and the courtyards are cramped with rusting evidence material including a number of bi- and motorcycles, for example.
The lack of resources for what is considered an important policing area nationally, is also alarming, says the union.There are only seven of the ten vehicles supposedly assigned to the station. The Citizen Safety unit has six of them assigned to its eight separate areas, which means these cannot be patrolled properly. Worse still, of the six vehicles, only three are operational, the remainder being under repair for various reasons. "Many of our officers have to patrol on foot," says the union.
The rapid response unit (Grupo Operativo de Respuesta, GOR) has only one van but is presently being repaired, "so our officers have to walk to serve at such events as football matches or demonstrations at the border, carrying their shields and riot gear."
Lack of money also impacts on the 'plain clothes' vehicles, which have been in the shop for several months. "We've had up to 30, but now there are only 14 left," says the union. And the station has not a single motorbike assigned to it - or operational, at least.