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Assembled group waiting outside the Station

Bart Gommans, Councillor for Foreign residents in La Nucia organized a tour of the Central Police Station for the towns English speaking residents yesterday. The tour was exceptionally well attended - over 60 came and another one is planned  next week for Dutch and German speakers.
The group were greeted by the Police Chief, Javier Burrueco Gallardo who welcomed everyone and hoped that they found the tour interesting and informative.
The Station was built only 5 years ago( in 2006) - prior to moving to its present location on the main road, the Police Station was located within the Town Hall, next to the church with very limited space. This purpose built station spans 1100 square metres across 3 floors and cost 3 million euro's to construct.
The station is home to 38 staff and is also base for the Protection Civil - they are an organization consisting of 18 volunteers who give their services to help during organized events such as fiesta's, and sporting events when extra manpower is required.

Surveillance Control Room

The group was shown around all areas of the Police Station - on the ground floor the interrogation room,  complete with one way mirror was reminiscent of CSI Miami! But upstairs is where all the fun occurs - in the surveillance and monitoring room. La Nucia has 67 camera's in the town - 51 are surveillance and 16 OCR - license plate recognition camera's. Following the tragic death of a 17 year old boy who was knocked off his moped at the junction of the San Rafael urbanization in La Nucia on 21st March 2008, the British couple responsible were traced and arrested using the towns surveillance camera's. Police trawled through CCTV coverage and eventually identified the vehicle - recordings of number plates are routinely kept for 15 days. Since the installation of the cameras in the town, crime rates have dropped by an astonishing 50%.
The officer on duty showed how the cameras can rotate and zoom in on a vehicle and even capture the drivers face! He asked a volunteer for his car registration number and was able to tell us his movements over the last week - even revealing that he had been out until 4.30am on Tuesday!

Spacious reception area

The cameras also record volume of traffic and I was astounded to learn that the camera on the La Nucia - Alfaz border counts an average of 26,000 vehicles passing every day!
We then had an informative slide presentation and I learnt a number of interesting facts. There are 62 different languages spoken within the Valencian Community and 141 different nationalities living within its boundaries - there has been a 460% increase in population over the last 10 years. For this reason it is imperative that you register on the Padron in your town as the policing budget is allocated on the number of registered residents! Registering has nothing to do with tax as many people are misguidingly told. Number 1 spot for residents in the Valencian Community goes to us Brits but very close behind at number 2 is Romanian. Number 3 is Moroccans, Number 4 Ecuadorians and fifth are the Germans. Within the province of Alicante the British and German residents are the most important number wise.

Police Chief demonstrating on shooting range

Then the bit that all the men were waiting for .... down into the basement to the shooting range! Wow, what a site! Its probably about 50 metres long and lined with sound and impact absorbing padding on the floor and walls and special tiles on the ceiling - where I noticed rather alot of holes probably from stray bullets missing the target during practice!
Javier showed us the Glock gun that the police force use - they spend in the region of 1000€ on bullets per year. Each magazine contains fifteen   9mm bullets and he proceeded to demonstrate to the group a scenario on the range. Wooden figures were raised randomly and he had a spilt second to decide whether they were a civilian or had a gun in its hand - he made all the right calls you'll be relieved to know, so we are all in safe hands with him at the helm!

Me with the organizers.

It was an extremely interesting morning and special thanks must be given to our Councillor Bart Gommans for organizing this event and to Javier Burrueco Gallardo, the Police Chief for allowing 60 plus British residents to go trampling through his station and distracting the staff.

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