Armando Riera Martínez is the chief of the local police force of Santa Eulària des Riu. He leads a team of more than 60 police officers who work to keep the peace in the town. With extensive professional experience, this friendly and easygoing man is the subject of the first interview on the website.
How are the functions of the Local Police, the National Police and the Civil Guard divided?
In theory, in Spain there is a law that assigns specific functions to each police officer, while others are common to all police officers. In the case of the National Police, the most common are the issue of identity documents and passports, the control of entry and exit from Spain of foreigners and Spaniards, crime investigation, control of gambling and security companies and collaboration with other foreign police forces. This is usually in provincial capitals or major cities. The main tasks of the Guardia Civil are arms and explosives control, traffic control on interurban roads, nature conservation, etc. Finally, the main functions of the Local Police or Municipal Police, as they are called in other cities, are the control and surveillance of the municipality, the preparation of traffic reports in urban areas, collaboration in the settlement of private disputes between residents, the control and reporting of infringements of municipal ordinances, general surveillance and collaboration with other police officers.
During the tourist season, in Santa Eulària des Riu, we also have the support of Italian and German police officers who are under the command of the Civil Guard.
As this is a bit complex, the advice I would give to residents who require assistance from the police, fire department, ambulances or any emergency service is to call 112. This service will refer citizens to the service that best meets their needs and ensure coordination between these services.
What are the main offences committed in Santa Eulària des Riu?
In general, we can say that our town is a peaceful one. On the one hand, because the municipal authorities have taken the appropriate measures over the years to ensure quality tourism. On the other hand, because the local police do their job, respecting people, but meticulously. Finally and very importantly, because its inhabitants have wanted to maintain and have been actively involved in maintaining a peaceful town. As you ask me, however, the most frequent difficulties we have to deal with, I would say, in terms of traffic, are drinking and driving, especially at weekends, and invalid driver and vehicle documentation (especially with non-EU residents). We also carry out actions related to gender violence in couples. With regard to compliance with municipal ordinances, the most common actions involve pets, blockages of public roads and good citizenship.
Is multilingualism in Santa Eulària des Riu a problem for the Local Police?
Less and less so, because we have more trained personnel and there is also the 112 emergency service, which has translators in the most widely spoken languages. As the world is globalized and we have visitors from many different countries, sometimes we find that they speak languages that are not common here and we have to resort to residents of the same nationality who have lived in Spain for some time and speak both languages. If a person is arrested, the courts have translators. Having said that, I believe that in a few years’ time, high-performance digital applications will solve the language problem we have to deal with.
The island of Ibiza is a place where there is a high level of immigration/emigration. How does this affect the work of the Local Police?
These population movements are a great asset for a town like Santa Eulària des Riu, which is part of the “leading package” of cities in Spain with the highest percentage of non-national residents. In everyday life, this is not a major problem. However, it is true that when different cultures that do not have the same values and customs as us mix and coexist, sometimes there are problems of community life, interaction between partners and children and interpretation of the rules. On the other hand, we have to deal with the problem of pet abandonment, a real problem that sometimes cannot be solved as quickly as we would like because the putting down of healthy animals is prohibited in Spain and this means that a considerable number of abandoned animals have to be dealt with, often because their owners leave the island and leave them behind. Fortunately, residents in general are very committed to animal welfare and help us solve this problem. On the other hand, there is the issue of abandoned cars; European residents leave the island and leave their cars here, which are often in good condition, but can end up being treated as abandoned and finally decontaminated (scrapped) vehicles. The fact that they have foreign registration numbers makes it difficult for us to locate the owners and solve the problem.