Friday 20 April 2018

Police criticised for patrolling party hotspot Magaluf at 'wrong time, wrong season'

Screen grab taken from PA Video of tourists on the Punta Ballena strip in Magaluf, Spain PA Video/PA Wire
Screen grab taken from PA Video of tourists on the Punta Ballena strip in Magaluf, Spain PA Video/PA Wire

Dominic Harris

Police sent to the party hotspot of Magaluf are there at the wrong time of year and work at the wrong time of day, tourists and workers have said.

Two officers are spending a week helping the Guardia Civil in the Majorcan resort, followed by seven days in San Antonio, Ibiza, to keep an eye on young British revellers.

Some in Magaluf dismissed the move as a waste of money and a publicity stunt and said their presence would make no difference.

Bar and club staff said the officers had arrived too late as British visitors peak earlier in the season, and workers and holidaymakers alike said the police needed to work at night to have any effect.

But others welcomed the trial, saying a British officer would be a welcome sight for drinkers who have had too much.

The sergeant and constable from West Midlands Police are patrolling tourist destinations such as the Punta Ballena strip - the night life centre - as well as beaches and the airport to help British victims of crime and support their Spanish counterparts when Britons are offenders.

Read more: Watch: Video captured in just 12 minutes in Magaluf shows tourists bloodied, vomiting and engaging in sexual acts in the ocean

The officers have been out in full British uniform working eight-hour shifts between 7am and 10pm.

Screen grab taken from PA Video of a sign on the Punta Ballena strip in Magaluf, Spain PA Video/PA Wire
Screen grab taken from PA Video of a sign on the Punta Ballena strip in Magaluf, Spain PA Video/PA Wire
Magaluf, Mallorca (Majorca)

But Cathie Wood, 46, from Nottingham, said the hours were "a joke".

Miss Wood, who was visiting the holiday island for the third time this year, said: "People don't even get out of their beds until midnight to come out and party. Where are they when they are partying and the trouble's kicking off?

"Two officers is like a drop in the ocean, isn't it - they'll make no difference whatsoever."

Miss Wood also questioned why taxpayers - the trial is funded by the Foreign Office - are paying for British officers to work in Spain.

She said: "It's not just British here that are kicking off, there are all nationalities that are on the lash.

"We pay our taxes for them to police our own country, not Spain."

Alex Patterson, 21, from Bridgend, south Wales, who has been in Magaluf since Friday with three friends, had not seen the officers and did not know they were on the island.

Read more: "I'm going to get mortal on the street and I don't care" - Drinkers defy Magaluf crackdown

The social work graduate said: "We go out at 12 o'clock at the earliest and are home between 4am and 6am, which is probably why we haven't seen them.

"I think it would be a good idea, just at different times. I don't know how the Spanish police enforce law and legislation.

"It sounds disrespectful, but if a British officer started telling me this is right, this is wrong, I think I would start listening more."

On the Punta Ballena strip, where club staff try to entice young tourists to their bars, Lee James, from Manchester, said the officers were at the resort months too late.

The 22 year old, who works at the City Lights bar, said Magaluf was packed with Britons in May but since the end of July tourists have been mainly Italians and Spanish.

He said: "If they were going to come they should have come at the start of May when the English were actually here.

"I think it is a bit daft, to be honest. We are in Spain, not in England. When would you ever see the Spanish police in England?"

He also suggested Magaluf's notorious reputation was a little harsh, saying: "In the three months I have been here I have seen one or two fights, which is not much.

Read more: So long, 'Shagaluf'? Magaluf's strict new rules for antisocial behaviour begin today

"When I go back home to Manchester you see more fights than that on a night out, do you know what I mean?"

Another worker, who gave his name as Ayden, thought the officers were a welcome presence.

He said: "If I was on a lads holiday and steaming, I would rather go to a British cop than a Spanish one as I'd be nervous as hell.

"If they just had a few more and introduced themselves to the workers.

"Two English coppers are not going to change a thing in Magaluf. You have to bring at least 10 out on patrol."

Fellow worker Kal Morris, 26, from Blackpool, who has been in Magaluf for three years and works at the Stereo bar, also backed the British officers but said the trial needed reassessing.

He said: "I think it is a good idea, but they have come at the wrong time. And two British police between 8am and 10pm? No one is out - there is no point.

"They should send more, introduce themselves to all the workers down the strip and work from 6pm to 4am.

"It would be better for everyone if they came in June, not August. They might as well come at Christmas."

But another bar worker who declined to be named said the officers had no authority and branded it "a publicity stunt".

Around 150,000 Britons visit Magaluf each year, mainly in July and August, according to Abta, the Association of British Travel Agents.

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