Following several complaints from Chamber members and members of the public generally over the summer, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce is calling for a much more visible police presence in Main Street, Casemates and other pedestrian areas. With heightened security concerns in recent months certain measures and procedures have been introduced to protect the public. Although these have caused additional costs to many local businesses our members have adjusted their operations accordingly.
What is disappointing though is that there has not been a concomitant increase in police presence to match the increased threat. Having more uniformed officers on the beat not only reassures the public and the many thousands of tourists who come to Gibraltar every day, but more importantly also acts as a deterrent to potential criminals and terrorists.
The current GPA Policing Plan states that Community is at the centre of policing in Gibraltar. Specifically, in delivery of this Plan it commits “to increase the presence of visible foot patrols on our streets…”
Alas, visible foot patrols around town have been noticeable by their absence. Two armed officers are sometimes seen around Casemates at certain times of the day but more uniformed bobbies on the beat around town are what are needed.
Some members have also informed us that when an offence is in the act of being committed such as an illegally parked car blocking a loading bay, the response of some police officers who have been called to report the infraction has been that they are deployed on other duties and are unable to assist.
Government has increased the RGP’s budget by 35% between 2011 and 2015, (£11.2m – £15.1m respectively), but according to the RGP’s own statistics total crime and serious crime has fallen by a third during the same period. The Chamber calls for the increased budget to be employed in visible, local policing. The board of the Chamber of Commerce is also disappointed to see that the Casemates police station is not open 24 hours a day, but only open during normal office hours and asks if the taxpayer is getting value for money from the law enforcement budget.
The Chamber sincerely hopes that the commissioner will give due consideration to more visible uniformed policing and enforcement around town.
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