Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Uno de cada tres agentes pedidos por la Guardia Civil se destinará a tareas de tráfico

One in three officers requested by the Guardia Civil will be destined for traffic duty.


One in three officers requested by the Guardia Civil will be destined for traffic duty, according to the director general of the Benemérita, Joan Mesquida, who will ask the government to increase the force by 1.500 of which 500 will be for the traffic group.

Mesquida declared so to Cadena Ser [radio], on being asked about complaints on the scarcity of traffic patrols on the road. According to him, the low number of officers is a problem that affects the whole corps [The Guardia Civil is a military organisation but under civilian control] and he blamed the previous [Partido Popular] government.

He stated "Surprisingly, eight years of PP government left less guardia civil than when they came to power. There were [in 1996] 72,000 guardias and in 2004, 69,000." He added, "this means having to now make an enourmous effort to recover posts at a rate of 4,000 a year, double the recruitment of previous years".

He stated that already "on the table is an approval for the cabinet to increase front-line strength by 1,500, of which 500 will be for the traffic group" and they will be for policing of the new points-based licences.

By this means deaths on the road can be reduced, Mesquida said. "[the points-based licence] is a good initiative against accidents" and he trusted that in this battle there will be seen "day by day improvements" owing to drivers taking more care and "because with time there will be more technology to allow the detection of offences".

I can report that I see a traffic patrol about once a month. Bear in mind that in the province of Málaga there are only six fixed radar traps (all on main roads) and I have yet to see a mobile radar trap anywhere in Spain.

Taking the figures above we can expect that out of the current 70,000-odd guardia civil total strength about 30,000 will be front-line, and of these about 10,000 in traffic. Divide this by the number of provinces and you get about 250 active traffic officers for the whole of Málaga province (pop. over 1,000,000) patrolling 1,379 km of road on which are approximately 500,000 vehicles.

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