Greater Police presence promised for Orihuela Costa

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Local police patrol the coast
Local police patrol the coast

The Orihuela Costa will have a greater police surveillance this summer. The Council’s Department of Public Safety plans to create a new coastal unit of six Local Police officers who will be responsible for beach surveillance and improved security in the Orihuela Costa.

The six new agents will be recruited by the Oriolan police force by May, and will be contracted to work until December, according to the Councillor for Citizen Security of Orihuela, Ramón López. In total, 12 agents will be recruited with the other six employed elsewhere in the municipality.

The agents that form the coastal unit, will not carry weapons, and will be responsible for beach control during the summer period. Their functions will include prevention of theft and robbery, and the illegal sale of food and drink, as well as the unlawful masseurs that are regularly seen on some of the beaches indulging the needs of tourists.

However, one of the main objectives of this new police unit for beach will be to deter the presence of ‘looky look’ men’ on the Oriolano coastal walks, especially in Aguamarina, where up to a hundred can be found operating every single day.

Residents and business owners have been demanding a greater police presence for two years as illegal vendors occupy the Aguamarina promenade every day during the summer months, preventing the passage of pedestrians, in front of shops and bars.

The councillor aid that he recognises that completely eradicating the “looky looky men” in Orihuela Costa will be a difficult task “but the key, as happened on occasions last summer, is to be there before them which will deter them from ‘setting up.’

Ramón López is also asking for more public awareness about the problem “which is social, rather than that of the police, because wherever there is a buyer, there will be an illegal seller,” he said.

The agents assigned to this new unit will also have a prominent presence in the markets held in the areas which regularly attract the presence of hundreds of people, mostly foreigners, and which attract pickpockets who try to lift people’s wallets. For this reason, it will be an especial focus for the interim police.

For surveillance in and around the area, the agents will have bicycles, with which they can move more easily, especially between beaches, and which will allow greater contact with the public.

The twelve interim agents that will be employed in May, six for the new coastal patrol and and the other six for the rest of the municipality, will be just some of the new additions that the Local Police will have to increase their workforce. “The intention is to have 40 more officers than has been the case throughout this year,” said Ramón López.

The current workforce consists of 127 agents “who do a superb job even though there are not enough to cover the large territory and population that Orihuela has,” said Ramón López. Therefore, six additional agents will be incorporated “immediately” and another 12 later.

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