Contributor / 2005-05-09 17:42:37
As I am sure others before have experienced, we had our hire car broken into at the beach at Campoamor. Although nothing was in sight, a window was smashed and yes, a cool box with our lunch in it plus swimming trunks, were stolen.
So, thinking we should do the right thing, we went to the Guardia Civil in Torrevieja to at least report the crime. You would not imagine how difficult this is. I spoke using my rather basic but perfectly understandable rudimentary Spanish to a really quite rude man at the gate who refused to answer me and instead pointed at a sign saying that I should get an interpreter. I detailed again in Spanish brief details of what had happened and he handed me a piece of paper with the telephone number of an interpreter on it. He then waved me away and began speaking with the next person in the "queue" at the entrance to the yard.
Now, I can understand that all Spanish policemen should not be required to be fluent in English however, what if I'd been mugged, lost everything, passport, money, etc. and had no way of obtaining help? What if a lady were raped or otherwise attacked? Would they show such obvious indifference and if not, how does this person decide in an instant, who should be allowed in without an interpreter and who needs to have one?
In the UK with all of its various ethnic and racial varieties, it is incumbent on all public authorities to provide facilities for anyone not able to communicate easily. This for such communities where densities are well below those of the English in the Costa Blanca and who have not necessarily brought billions of euros and obvious affluence to the area.
Or could it be cynically, that in order not to put the "Brits" and others off, they make crime reporting as difficult as possible to keep down the crime figures? How many other such incidents fail to get reported? A few I would bet!
I am certainly not anti-police. They have a tough job but come on boys, we will help you as much as we can but we need a little back eh?
Longwell Green, Bristol