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Next time we'll patrol Magaluf at night, say British police

Published 13/08/2015

A couple pose for a selfie with West Midlands Police officer Sergeant Brett Williams in Magaluf
A couple pose for a selfie with West Midlands Police officer Sergeant Brett Williams in Magaluf
A couple take a selfie with West Midlands Police officer Sergeant Brett Williams in Magaluf
British police officers have been helping in Magaluf

Two British police officers posted to the party hotspot of Magaluf to help Spanish authorities deal with rowdy tourists admitted any future project would "probably see them on the streets at night" amid suggestions they were working at the wrong time of day.

Sergeant Brett Williams and Pc Martina Anderson, from West Midlands Police, have spent the week patrolling the infamous Majorcan holiday resort, working alongside colleagues from the Guardia Civil.

But tourists and Britons working on the holiday island dismissed the trial as a waste of time because the officers have been working in the daytime - missing the nightlife, when young revellers are out partying.

When asked if the officers' presence was a PR exercise, British ambassador to Spain Simon Manley said: "This is about practical co-operation, it forms part of the work we do day in, day out, with the police, with the Guardia Civil, with the authorities, to try and ensure that those more than three million Brits who come to these islands each year pass their holidays in safety and security."

The two officers arrived on Monday, working eight hour shifts between 7am and 10pm patrolling the beaches, airport terminals and holiday resorts in full uniform to help British victims of crime.

Sgt Williams said they had helped at a domestic violence incident, but said their purpose was not to look for drunken Britons causing problems at night, but to speak with locals and tourists to find out what problems they face each year.

He said: "We have had a really good reaction. We have had no negative comments, they have all been very positive. Both the people that live here, the people that have come here on holiday and also the Spanish that have been here as well.

"They have all thought that it is an amazing scene to see a British bobby in uniform."

The officers have been chatting with tourists and posing for selfies while out on patrol, but they have also been spotted in the sea with their towels laid out on sunbeds at their four-star adults-only spa hotel.

And they have come under fire from tourists and bar staff alike for not working at night, when thousands of holidaymakers party late into the early hours on the Punta Ballena strip.

Police from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Morocco have already taken part in similar initiatives in Spain, and locals said many had worked at night.

Other tourists questioned their effectiveness as they do not have the power to make arrests.

Flanked by officers from the Guardia Civil and the local police during a press conference, Mr Williams admitted they had not been out to see the night-time antics of Britons themselves during the trip, as both he and Ms Anderson had lived on the island in the past.

And he said the trial was not about tackling drunken young Britons but working with hotel directors, security staff, bar owners and local police to gauge the situation.

He said: "We'll probably end up on the streets at night, but as with any English crime and any English thing that we want to deal with, we need to speak with the stakeholders in the day."

Asked whether it might have been good for tourists to see a British police officer at night, he said: "We have met with a lot of people, just actually when they're sober, not necessarily when they've had some drink."

Mr Williams added that he felt the trial had been "a real positive step forward".

Later, as he and Ms Anderson patrolled the streets and beach front near Punta Ballena, Mr Williams said it had "been a great experience" and that he hoped it had been a success.

On Sunday the two officers will travel to another party hotspot, San Antonio in Ibiza, as the trial continues for a second week.

The Foreign Office has made £14,000 available for the trial, but this may not all be used as the Guardia Civil and Balearic hotel industry are covering accommodation, meals and transport.

Mr Manley would not confirm whether it would be repeated in the future, saying officials would have to consider the officers' reports and any consular cases over the summer before making a decision.

He said: "We will have to see on the basis of what they report back what, if anything, we do in years to come."

It was later confirmed that the two officers will have Saturday and Sunday off before they go to Ibiza on Monday for the second part of the trial.

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil said: "They have got the weekend off and they travel to Ibiza on Monday morning."

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