Checkpoints signal increased police presence in Campo
Spanish police officers mounted checkpoints in La Linea yesterday and intensified random controls in the wake of a string of recent incidents of violence against officers.
The Policia Nacional has reinforced its presence in the Spanish border city and deployed additional rapid response officers.
The Guardia Civil has separately also deployed special units to the Campo area.
In a separate development, two people were arrested following a raid in which Spanish police officers seized 60 grams of heroin, 8,000 euros in cash and two handguns.
The extra law enforcement deployment comes amid concerns that organised crime gangs involved are increasingly willing to resort to violence and intimidatory tactics when challenged.
Earlier this week a Royal Gibraltar Police boat had to cut off a chase at sea after suspected drug smugglers fired two shots, a development described by police here as “a tipping point”.
There were two shooting incidents between rival gangs in La Linea in the past fortnight too, while Spanish officers have been assaulted and pelted with rocks while trying to stop smuggling operations in the Campo.
But the deployment of more officers drew a lukewarm response from the Spanish police union Sindicato Unificado de Policía, which praised their work but said it was an insufficient, temporary measure.
“La Linea will soon enough be abandoned once again by irresponsible politicians who do not want to accept that this is an area of increased danger for our officers and that this must be reflected in the pay of all civil servants who work here, in order to prevent the departure of police officers, doctors and teachers to less conflictive areas,” the SUP said in a statement.
The union called for a permanent increase in specialist police officers, including an anti-money laundering unit “…to hit these scoundrels where it hurts them most.”