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Corruption and the Spanish Police
Posted: 28 July 2007 01:53 AM  
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Continuing the conversation started by cbram titled “The Real Spanish Police” here in the tapas bar is far more appropriate. Keep the sarcasm and name-calling out of it but vent or share your horror or happy stories about corruption in Spain and/or problems with the Spanish police.

I have to say that the corruption has worked to my benefit more than once. Especially with visa issues. Also, I’ve had pretty good experiences with the cops when they thought I was just a dumb tourist on more than one occasion. That said I’ve had some scary experiences with the Mossos d’Esquadra as well, seeing them beat down a few people during the World Cup last year, getting pulled over and ordered out of the car at machine gun point… the list goes on.

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Posted: 29 July 2007 12:56 AM  
Just Landed
Total Posts:  28
Joined  2006-04-14

Wow! All I can say is I feel sorry for the gents from the UK who have had their lives upturned. I’m from the States, didn’t speak spanish when I arrived 10 months ago, and drive around a US registered motorcycle. To this day, I’ve learned to communicate reasonably OK for a 41 year old guy; have made A LOT of friends who always call me to invite me out somewhere; have danced on the beach in my underwear for the Fiesta of San Juan; and have not had a police run-in regarding my US plates even though the guardia civil is less than 200 meters from my home. The last issue is just a matter of not knowing how to proceed on my own because I don’t want to pay a gestoria an ungodly sum of money to do what, hopefully, I can do.

A lot of what I’ve read reminds me of the States. In many states the police are acting as described previously. More tickets for more useless stuff as the nation gets deeper in debt, and a resentment to foreigners, and not just those from “South of the Border”, but from everywhere outside of “America”. I see discrimination at work against the Moroccans and a few of the Africans. I also see discrimination against the Gypsies and Bulgarians as well—-and a lot of snide comments directed at the British. I’m black, and so far the only discrimation I’ve recieved was from a French business in Santa Pola. They didn’t want to rent me a jet ski, and told me they closed at 7. My husband, a spaniard, went over to them and they told him they closed at 8. He threatened them with legal action when he mentioned what they told me, their faces turned red. They promptly closed when he walked away. I haven’t felt anything from spaniards: from my barber, to the people at the gas station, Mercadona, and my large extended family of in-laws.

Yes, I’ve also seen some of the so called corruption at work. The black money issue, the fees for the builder, fees for the gestoria, bank fees even though I keep a tidy sum at Caixa Catalunya, low wages and a not so low cost of living, and real estate agents commission for a place I FOUND on the internet! I do get frustrated at what I think is a lack of efficiency in the Spanish way. It seems that the government workers only exist to move a piece of paper from one side of their desk to the other. I think Telefonica is greedy for charging not only their monthly fee, but also per minute charges when I call them about THEIR malfunctioning equipment. In these regards, the United States, despite its deep problems, has the upper hand over Spain. Would I reverse the clock and stayed in the United States? NO WAY. Just would have taken spanish lessons before I came here.

No country is perfect. And I’m afraid the cost of living is rising no matter where you go in the globe. My mother is retired in the States and is barely scraping by because of the large jumps in prices from food to electricity to gasoline. Government fees are just a reality, whether here in Spain, Great Britain, or the United States. And I might add, in smaller towns in the US, only by knowing people in the town council, are you able to get things done rapidly when it comes to permits. Therefore the problem reported by cbram is not isolated to Spain.

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Posted: 06 August 2007 12:22 AM  
Just Landed
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2007-08-05

Oh my! Having just joined the forum yesterday, I’m begining to wonder if it’s a good idea at all, to re-locate to Spain! ohh

It’s sounding more and more like India (where I’m at) with every post I read!

Sincerely, I do understand and have knowledge about the kinds of things you’re talking about here but I guess I thought that as Spain was one of the most touristy destinations that at least Brits started going to about 40 years back, that the people would be more tolerant of foreigners - especially in the Cities and coastal destinations.  What a sad thing it is for foreigners still to be seen as walking wallets and the like. As far as corruption goes, it’s most likely in almost every country in the world - India being one of the top three.

I had wondered what Spain would be like with people of different coloured skins (my son is Indian born and handicapped) but I suppose in the back of beyond and not a larger town he will also be considered strange. After all the talk we have, isn’t a sad thing that in 2007 we can’t accept each other for who we are and learn from our very rich and colourful cultures instead of using each other to get what we want.

I’m really sad to hear about the way in which your father-in-law was treated - it would also happen here…frequently.  I had hoped, I guess, that Spain would have been a little better than that.  I do hope I’mnot making a great mistake in bringing my son to Spain. As for me, well, I’m a bit long in the tooth to worry about how I’m treated after living here for seven years.  A peaceful and trouble free life…I wonder if it will ever be possible in spain hmmm

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Posted: 07 August 2007 12:17 PM  
Just Landed
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2007-08-05

I totally agree that India is not a great place to raise a child - my child is Indian, but I have been working for 6 years to get him out of here. Please God that is all at a happy end now.

I won’t start on about what it’s like living here though - that would be for another thread, if not another forum and there may be things said that could get me deported…ha ha

best wishes…  grin

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Posted: 09 August 2007 04:34 PM  
Just Landed
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Joined  2007-08-09

I have found the police in Spain to be the most professional and efficient that I have encountered in most parts of the world.  They require a level of education and transforms many of them into gentlemen.  HOWEVER, I believe the benidorm police to be very corrupt.  I think they work with the pic-pocket theives on the street also.

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Posted: 09 August 2007 06:23 PM  
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We lived in Barcelona for two years, police on every corner, or so it seemed, both my two teenage girls had the bags stolen (in a real touristy area mind) and nothing could be done, just a way of life!!!  They were deemed to be tourist although both have residencia!  Anyway the point is, I think we just expected things like that to happen in a big city and nothing to be done….where we live now, we actually have a police car patroling the area, just as a precaution (as some houses are left empty for a period of time) and feel tonnes better (touch wood nothing happens now!!!)  OK, not had any of the experiences as some of the people on here and hopefully never will, but all in all pretty good and also we happen to know people who know people, which also helps, I suppose!!!  Police are police wherever you go and you get good and bad whatever!!!

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Posted: 10 August 2007 01:38 AM  
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neoman2445 - 09 August 2007 04:34 PM

I have found the police in Spain to be the most professional and efficient that I have encountered in most parts of the world.  They require a level of education and transforms many of them into gentlemen.  HOWEVER, I believe the benidorm police to be very corrupt.  I think they work with the pic-pocket theives on the street also.

When i am in alqueria our chief of police is wonderfull, what we find anoying are some expats who think everyone should speak english.
If you try a little spanish they will bend over backwards to help if you shout in english i and the kind and pleasent people in our village including our police will say no hable our police are not crooks they are ordinary working men

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Posted: 10 August 2007 09:18 AM  
Just Landed
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2007-08-09
aligran - 09 August 2007 06:23 PM

We lived in Barcelona for two years, police on every corner, or so it seemed, both my two teenage girls had the bags stolen (in a real touristy area mind) and nothing could be done, just a way of life!!!  They were deemed to be tourist although both have residencia!  Anyway the point is, I think we just expected things like that to happen in a big city and nothing to be done….where we live now, we actually have a police car patroling the area, just as a precaution (as some houses are left empty for a period of time) and feel tonnes better (touch wood nothing happens now!!!)  OK, not had any of the experiences as some of the people on here and hopefully never will, but all in all pretty good and also we happen to know people who know people, which also helps, I suppose!!!  Police are police wherever you go and you get good and bad whatever!!!

I have to change my mind regarding Barcelona.  I think maybe the police are good there, but there are too many criminals!  the Marrocans are horrible.  While in Barcelona I saw, WITH MY OWN EYES 7 crimes taking place.  that place is out of control.  I was asaulted myself by a young Marrocan couple.  the guy held me and the woman tried to CUT MY THROAT, can you imagine!, I had a scar for 2 weeks.  Those people are animales, they have no respect for human life.  You people who live in Barcelona you have all my respect.  I would never even visit that place.  I think it has to be more dangerous than any place I have visited, even Rio or Mexico.  Thank God the police arrived or I would not be writting this now. I was not racist before, but I am totally down on islamists now. they are monsters!  Islamists the ones that say they are good, are also responsible. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Those schools, and peers are responsible for a person that does not value human life.

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Posted: 10 August 2007 10:29 PM  
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kabrav - 10 August 2007 10:46 AM
dave - 10 August 2007 01:38 AM

When i am in alqueria our chief of police is wonderfull, what we find anoying are some expats who think everyone should speak english.
If you try a little spanish they will bend over backwards to help if you shout in english i and the kind and pleasent people in our village including our police will say no hable our police are not crooks they are ordinary working men


Sir, unless you are native, even in most cases if you ARE native, I can assure you every member of my home speaks better Spanish than yourself. My wife is proficient to a legal professional level in castilian as well as the local dialect. The area I reside in has a majority of foreigners (confirmed by census) so yes it is not much to expect the local police to speak a “little” English, as indeed they all do here in Moraira.

By the way I do love the way you try to twist and belittle peoples experiences as being their own fault. Your very fortunate, and I am happy for you that you have not had a negative experience in Spain as yet. But please do try to use the brain God gave you, these problems are not peoples imagination or a misunderstanding of culture and language.

As for those that do not try to speak Spanish. Do you not think maybe they DO NOT speak Spanish because they do not know it. Reality is what is sir, and not what is ideal. And in an area that brings in incredible sums of revenue for the country as a whole you would think they would better cater for their guests?

It’s not special treatment people seek just an equal footing in society and justice by actual law and not circumstance and/or corruption.

A man should not be beaten by the police period.
A man should not be left dying at night because he is not a Spanish national and therefor not a priority.
The police should be held accountable for their actions or inactions, it is a government service and I for one have paid my taxes as much as any national has so I do feel I deserve equality AND professionalism in service.

sir
in every country in the world there are corrupt people mainly politicians but also police and imigration police BUT they are a minority not a majority your sucess or failure in any country is by your actions not your nieghbors.
In the uk there is a liberal goverment who are the friends of all imigrants by the goverments actoin britain is finished will spain follow i hope not.

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Posted: 21 June 2008 09:22 AM  
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Total Posts:  6
Joined  2008-06-21

I have just E-mailed cbram personally but I’d like to put it out over the forum as well.

I was involved in a spookily similar incident to the one described by cbram two weeks ago in Guardamar. Its too long a story to go into (I will E-mail directly to you or post it if anyone needs it) but the gist of it was that I tried to make a complaint about an officer after being (mildly) assaulted by them. I was told to go away and as I didn’t I was dragged into a room, beaten up by four officers and then left in very tight handcuffs for over two hours. I still am unable to feel parts of both hands two weeks later. I was eventually charged with assaulting an officer and breaking an officers watch, which did break as he was punching me round the head.

I was given the same advice by a solicitor, who had NO concern for my welfare whatever, to plead guilty and pay a fine. I asked what would happen if I told the truth and pleaded not guilty, to which I was told I would go to prison, for an unspecified amount of time, and await a trial date. Nobody knew where I was, the British Consulate hadn’t been told, I’d had no rights given to me and hadn’t even been told I was under arrest. I chose the first option and paid the fine.

Anyway, when I tried to complain about the officer, I did it under the police station CCTV camera, which appeared to be working, because I could see the monitor through the window. I’ve applied for a copy of the tape through the highest channels and if I can get a copy I intend to fight my case all the way.

As I say, I’ve E-mailed cbram personally, but I don’t know if he’ll receive it. If anyone out there know him and can pass my details on I would be grateful.

Also, if anyone else has had similar bad experience with the Spanish Police, I would love to hear from you, as I intend to bring this situation to the notice of the authorities.

I’m grateful,

Paul.
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Posted: 23 June 2008 06:28 PM  
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Joined  2008-06-23

The Spanish Police arn`t into civil rights.

Its quite normal for a person who gives a policia a bit of verbal to get a smack.

Spanish law allows for this and is accepted.

When any person moves to a foreign country, you have to understand you`ve left your way of life behind and accept rules are different.

Whilst this is the 21st Centuary, Spain and her authorities are free to implement there rights, laws and polices.

There is a simple way to avoid problems.

When an officer asks you questions, you show respect and answer clearly, respectfully and with a level of subdewness.

If your from a UK council estate, don`t give a monkeys for anybody and believe you have all the rights in the world to verbally abuse a Policemen, then I`m afraid in Spain you`ll come unstuck.

If you calmly explain the situation and talk nice, you`ll be fine.

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Posted: 23 June 2008 06:42 PM  
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dear santi my feelings exactly but on the costas you have a lot of council estate rejects who think the world owes them a living and they oow there rights they deserve what they get cool smile

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Posted: 24 June 2008 10:29 AM  
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I don’t live in Spain but I have bought and restored a property there, so I’m not an expert but an informed amateur.  Some observations pertaining to this thread:
- I’ve never seen any evidence of corruption first hand, unless you count “black” or undeclared money for tax avoidance purposes, which is endemic. In all other respects everyone I’ve dealt with has been scrupulously honest.
- Corruption is covered in the Spanish press all the time, and there is always a story about corrupt police or local politicians.  Personally I think this indicates that the Spanish still think it is unusual and unacceptable, because otherwise it wouldn’t be news.
- Crime is said to be statistically much lower in Spain than in the UK.  I don’t know the truth about this as crime statistics are notoriously more about rates of reporting than the acts themselves, but in my experience I feel less likely to be robbed in Spain than Scotland, with the possible exception of the very biggest cities.  It pisses me off that everyone blames immigrants, as crime levels have fallen in Spain over the past ten years (largely down to the 80s heroin epidemic subsiding) while immigration has climbed.  Ergo more immigrants mean less crime, not more.
- Spanish bureaucracy is awful and can slow life down to a trickle. This may be a legacy of the vast civil service that was created under Franco for various reasons and may be changing. Slowly.  In my experience the local authorities in Britain, and especially the NHS, can be almost as bad.
- The ambulance around our mountainous part of Granada is a helicopter service and everyone, Spanish and foreign, has nothing but praise for this incredibly fast and responsive service.  I don’t doubt that there are incidents in this big country of ambulances arriving late and even ambulance drivers demanding bribes, but I don’t believe it’s common.
- Spanish administration and policing is more devolved than anywhere else in Europe. So when you make a comment about the Mossos, for example, it’s not necessarily relevant to the Guardia, the nacionales or the locales.  And with local politicians, what’s true about one community, province or municipality isn’t necessarily true of another.
- Most people I’ve met in Spain are more accepting of foreigners and less racist than their equivalents in Britain.  Even in small villages around the Alpujarra, people seem to be generally very kind to British ex-pats, Romanian builders and (illegal) African fruit pickers. At least more kind and welcoming than your average Daily Mail reading nutcase in England would be under the same circumstances.
- In my opinion, Spaniards have every right to expect people coming to live in their country to learn Spanish (and/or Catalan etc.), but a duty out of common civility to be patient with them while they’re learning. Generally I think they are very tolerant, and again more so than the equivalent people in Britain, France or the US would be. I think there are lots of Brits on the Costas in particular who have no intention of progressing past the most rudimentary level, perhaps because they feel (erroneously) that they are too old to learn. I don’t think that’s acceptable and in this respect I’m probably less tolerant than the average Spaniard.

I’ll admit that I’m not permanently in Spain and I may ver las cosas de color rosa, but that’s my take on my experiences so far.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 02:06 PM  
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Hi, I am Spaniard.
A lot of things you said are right, but things need to be analysed more deeply when you try look at the pros and cons between two countries as Spain and UK.
For example, corruption is a problem in Spain, but we are not talking about CORRUPTION, we refer speacially to real state and properties corruption, their prices and the way you pay when buying a home or flat.
Other things, we are 46million population already, with 5million inmigrants (europeans,african,southamerican, and asians), so it is about 11% of the total population.Crime is lower than UK (I know the knife murder and violent crimes problem from UK) but even when crime have gone down while economy are gone up, about 90% of faults, robbery and crimes are made by non-european inmigrants ( it is a fact, I am statistician and don´t talk with prejuice because am married with a southamerican inmigrant who came to study at the same University than me), so spannish people is not so tolerant as you think about inmigrants (they say they are not racist or xenophobic at the surveys because admiting so it is a bad estigma) and because the particular face of the spannish work scenario (a lot of illegal and ‘obscure’ job contracts), inmigrants and low qualified Spaniards fight for the same bad paid works.If you are british or french is different, but I recommend you to learn spanish if you want to be part of the spanish society and not been named ‘guiri’ (it means you are a tourist who live in a dream thinking Spain is a sun paradise and you buy and dress a fucking Mexican hat (very far away from spanish culture), ask for sangría at the most fucking expensive restaurants full of other tourists and think paella is only rice with tomato (that´s why you were at other fucking bad quality restaurant who try to cheat to tourists and you will end up saying spanish food is disgusting) and the worse of all:  the ‘putos guiris’ (fucking idiot tourists) are named those who think Spain is so different than you can do what you want a drinking beers all day and throw the cans at parks and beaches, piss at the streets as the fucking hooligans that visited Barcelona last year…
so, what aer you worried about then?
All moving plans need to be analysed deeply.
Spain are not perfect as UK neither.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 03:27 PM  
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Hombre, tranquilo!  No soy uno de aquellos guiris barbaros que invaden cada año las playas sin saber nada de castellano ni de la cultura española!  I understand you’re pissed off with that kind of tourist, but isn’t the Spanish industry moving upmarket and developing green, cultural, natural, gastronomic and adventure tourism as well as the cheap sand and sangria lot?

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Posted: 24 June 2008 03:37 PM  
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MartCross - 24 June 2008 10:29 AM

- Corruption is covered in the Spanish press all the time, and there is always a story about corrupt police or local politicians.  Personally I think this indicates that the Spanish still think it is unusual and unacceptable, because otherwise it wouldn’t be news.

Enchufe is a form of corruption, the black economy in Spain is huge, last stats I`ve seen put Spain behind Chile for Corruption.

The Costa Del Sol and Costa brava would fall apart if it wasn`t for Mafia groups, Corruption and Crime.

- Crime is said to be statistically much lower in Spain than in the UK.  I don’t know the truth about this as crime statistics are notoriously more about rates of reporting than the acts themselves, but in my experience I feel less likely to be robbed in Spain than Scotland, with the possible exception of the very biggest cities.

Stats are different dependant on the reason for the survey, I`ve worked the doors in both the UK and Spain, the level of violence is greater in Spain than the UK.

  It pisses me off that everyone blames immigrants, as crime levels have fallen in Spain over the past ten years (largely down to the 80s heroin epidemic subsiding) while immigration has climbed.  Ergo more immigrants mean less crime, not more.
- Spanish bureaucracy is awful and can slow life down to a trickle. This may be a legacy of the vast civil service that was created under Franco for various reasons and may be changing. Slowly.  In my experience the local authorities in Britain, and especially the NHS, can be almost as bad.

You`ve never been to Benalmadena of a weekend then, even Fuengirola.

- The ambulance around our mountainous part of Granada is a helicopter service and everyone, Spanish and foreign, has nothing but praise for this incredibly fast and responsive service.  I don’t doubt that there are incidents in this big country of ambulances arriving late and even ambulance drivers demanding bribes, but I don’t believe it’s common.

Fuengirola in the middle of the summer season only has 3 operational Urgencia Ambulances on a weekend, most street incidents including knive attacks usually reguire the Policia to drive the injured to a Emergency Dept.

- In my opinion, Spaniards have every right to expect people coming to live in their country to learn Spanish (and/or Catalan etc.),.

If only they`d tighten that up, most Expats can`t be bothered to learn even basic phrases and to a Spaniard thats not only an insult, it also show`s a lack of education.

Brits are the first to compalin about immigrants, i doubt my local chippy in the UK would learn Polish just to serve customers.

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