TG says collision officers must have proper support
Together Gibraltar has called on the Gibraltar Government and the Royal Gibraltar Police to ensure that the officers who were involved in a fatal collision at sea are represented at all stages of the process, and that they receive the proper advice and support.
Jurors found that that Ceuta residents, Mustafa Dris Mohamed, 49, and Mohamed Abdeslam Ahmed, 40, were unlawfully killed during a collision with the RGP vessel, Sir John Chapple.
The men and two others were in their rigid-hull inflatable boat when the collision took place in Spanish waters in March 2020.
In a statement, Together Gibraltar said it notes the outcome of the inquest as well as the statements by the Gibraltar Police Federation and the European Confederation of Police.
The Gibraltar Police Federation and the European Confederation of Police criticised what they described as a lack of support for officers involved in the collision from the Commissioner of Police, Richard Ullger, and senior officers within the RGP.
Together Gibraltar said: “It is important, as with all judicial processes of this nature, that the public does not rush to judgement.”
“Due process needs to be carried out, and TG will naturally not be commenting on the substantive matter until the process is complete.”
But the party said it is concerned that the GPF have felt like the officers involved have been “thrown under a bus”.
“The work of RGP marine section officers is highly dangerous,” said former Marine Section Chief Inspector and TG executive member, Isaac Massias.
“With officers in the front line of the international fight against drug trafficking, often subjected to aggressive collisions and physical attacks.”
“The least these officers deserve is the correct measures in place so they are protected when things go wrong.”
CM ON DIRECT DEMOCRACY
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was questioned on the political dimension of this incident on Tuesday night’s Direct Democracy on GBC.
He said the Government had “invested heavily” in the RGP and Customs to ensure Gibraltar’s law enforcement agents “have the tools that they need to do the job” they are asked to do, while underscoring his support for those tasked with these responsibilities.
“It is a very dangerous job and when something goes wrong, we have to be with our law enforcement officers because they have risked their lives to protect our lives and the lives of their children,” Mr Picardo said.
“If a mistake has been made in that process, I am still with our law enforcement agents.”
“And if a mistake has not been made but something has been misrepresented, we have to get to the bottom of that, we have to leave all of those options on the table right now.”
He said Gibraltar “cannot abandon” the law officers.
“What matters to Gibraltar and the people of Gibraltar is that our waters be sacrosanct,” Mr Picardo said.
“Drug traffickers and people traffickers should not be able to use our waters to traffic drugs, and therefore we need the equivalent of a sock around Gibraltar that has been delivered by our several law enforcement agencies.”
Mr Picardo said he has been in talks with successive Commissioners of Police and the Collector of Customs that their officers should not “seek to apprehend these people” outside of Gibraltar waters unless it is in cooperation with another law enforcement agencies.
“I am not going to pretend to put myself in the shoes of a person who at three or four o’clock in the morning, when everything is pitch dark, and they are doing a law enforcement job that we pay them to do,” Mr Picardo said.
“Other than to say they have my support at 4am and 4pm, and in Court Room number four [in La Linea, where a judge is investigating the incident] at any day that they are required to be there to answer for what had happened.”