Law enforcement in the Canary Islands

Law enforcement in the Canary Islands consists of two security forces, the Local Police and the Civil Guard or "Policia Local" & "Guardia Civil". While the former is characterised by blue markings on both uniforms and vehicles, the latter's vehicles and clothing is green, and due to the high level of tourism to the islands, both police forces possess control centres for a number of different languages.

Recent events

Despite the low crime levels on the Canary Islands, there have been a number of recent events involving the islands' police forces which have made international headlines. On January 10 1998, the Canary Islands Police on the island of Tenerife charged a German psychologist in connection with a suspected mass suicide plot of 32 people. ["Reuters" news article, copied to [ Factnet headlines] retrieved on May 9 2007]

The police forces are often faced with the task of deterring African migrants from illegally landing of the islands. On 7 February 2005, the islands' police force intercepted 227 immigrants off the coast of Tenerife, one of the largest of such groups to be intercepted. [BBC News [ article] retrieved on May 9 2007] In late 2006, a number of other countries, including Italy, Portugal and Finland, supplied ships and aircraft to assist the Guardia Civil in dealing with the immigrant issue as part of Operation Hera II. [BBC News [ article] retrieved on May 9 2007] On April 10 2007, Molotov cocktails were thrown at Canary Islands police patrol craft from a boat of 57 African immigrants, all of whom were later arrested when they landed on the islands. [CNN article [ "Police: Migrants threw Molotov cocktails at patrol boat"] retrieved on May 9 2007]

On February 16 2007, the islands' Civil Guard police arrested an armed man who hijacked a Boeing 737 that landed at Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. The plane landed on the island after running low on fuel, and was surrounded by police before the hijacker was overpowered by the passengers. [China Daily [ article] retrieved on May 9 2007] [USA Today [ article] retrieved on May 9 2007]


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