Officials warn of “precariousness” because they cannot perform emergency services.
The Local Police force in Callosa de Segura has been without badged patrol vehicles for more than a month. Currently the mobile fleet doesn’t have any marked cars that are equipped with emergency lights and siren and for the last 4 weeks all patrols have been carried out by agents in three unmarked vehicles.
The agents have warned of the hazardous work they are being required to carry out and the vulnerability of citizens as a result of them not being able to respond to emergency situations using lights and sirens. So every time they travel in unmarked cars, they have to stop at the traffic lights and respect all traffic regulations, even if they are responding to an emergency.
Although they have not had to make any emergency responses in recent weeks they are finding their use of unmarked cars to be rather surreal.
On one occasion the agents, when responding to a warehouse robbery in an unmarked car, they were stopped by the Civil Guard and almost confused with the robbers as they were driving quickly to the scene of the crime.
More recently they were stopped by the Local Police in Cox and asked for identification, and on a number of occasions they have been reported by residents fearing that they were thieves as they drove slowly around commercial centres in their unmarked cars.
The only vehicle with signage and the necessary emergency equipment, for a population that numbers 20,000 residents, is a Ford Mondeo that is continuously breaking down because of its age. The car left the workshop just last week after a full overhaul and service but just 2 days later it was back in the garage having broken down.
Indeed the police are now refusing to use it because they say that a wheel can fall off, the brakes do not work, the gears are extremely stiff and there is a very loud noise coming from the engine.
A few days ago, one of the unmarked cars, a 20 year old SUV, had to be taken to the municipal pound after it too suffered a breakdown. That same afternoon it was repaired and returned to service, but according to one policemen it’s condition is “unacceptable for police work”.
One further car has now been rented for use as a police vehicle, a new Renault Megane, which, according to our sources, cannot be used “except in urgent cases,” by order of the Chief of Police.
During recent festivities, there were up to 10 agents in some shifts but only 2 unmarked vehicles were available to them, the SUV and a 15 year old Citroën C3 both of which were said to be in a deplorable state.
The mayor of Callosa de Segura, Fran Maciá (PSOE), did announce in the coming days the police will have a new patrol vehicle, a Dacia Duster, albeit the delivery date has been delayed.