Chamber calls for more visible police presence in town
The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce is calling for a much more visible police presence in Main Street, Casemates and other pedestrian areas. The Chamber has said it had received several complaints from Chamber members and members of the public generally over the summer of the lack of police officers in town.
The Chamber adds that it sincerely hopes that the Commissioner of Police will give due consideration to more visible uniformed policing and enforcement around town. It points out that the current GPA Policing Plan highlights that “community is at the centre of policing in Gibraltar” and that specifically in the delivery of this plan it commits “to increase the presence of visible foot patrols on our streets…”
The Chambers statement yesterday points out that with heightened security concerns in recent months certain measures and procedures had been introduced to protect the public and that although these had caused additional costs to many local businesses its members had adjusted their operations accordingly.
But, the Chamber insisted, there had not been a concomitant increase in police presence to match the increased threat and felt this was “disappointing”.
“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,” said the statement.
Visible foot patrols around town have been noticeable by their absence, added the statement, and although the Chamber acknowledges two armed officers are sometimes seen around Casemates at certain times of the day it insists that “more uniformed bobbies on the beat around town are what are needed”.
It also highlights that some members have also informed them 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.
The statement also highlights that Government had 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.
Meanwhile 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.