Spain’s State Secretariat of Security of the Ministry of Home Affairs has activated its Safe Tourism Plan 2016 ahead of the upcoming summer season to provide tourists with a safer environment during their stay and travel in Spain. The operational implementation of this plan is embodied in Operation Summer 2016, which the Ministry of Home Affairs will launch on July 1.
This year, the Ministry of Home Affairs has increased the number of officers assigned to this operation by 1,227 – up 14.35% on 2015 – to a total of 42,607 Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil officers, who will be responsible for ensuring the safety of overseas tourists visiting Spain and Spaniards enjoying their summer holidays.
In addition to the police presence, the Safe Tourism Plan 2016 strengthens the services offered to inbound tourists via the extensive network of Foreign Tourist Assistance Service offices. These 24 offices provide services at all major tourist destinations in Spain and last year helped a total of 33,649 people. These offices help tourists who become the victim of crime in their own language, help them file an official crime report, provide assistance for the cancellation of credit cards and, if necessary, put them in touch with their consular authorities or with their families. This service is already available in Alicante, Malaga, Madrid, Granada, Seville, Valencia and the Balearic Islands.
As part of the commitment to new technologies by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Safe Tourism Plan also offers Alertcops – a free mobile app available in Spanish and English that allows a geo-located alert to be sent to the national security forces, thus enabling citizens to more easily report a crime or dangerous situation of which they become a victim or are witness to. Thanks to Alertcops, which has been downloaded almost 262,000 times, the Spanish National Police Force and Guardia Civil have processed approximately 50,000 alerts, of which over 6,400 correspond to potentially dangerous situations.
The operational implementation of the Safe Tourism Plan centers around Operation Summer 2016, which will enable surveillance to be increased on roads and at stations, sea ports, airports, hotels, camp sites and beaches, and for security measures to be stepped up at shows and events involving large gatherings, as well as procedures and paperwork when reporting a crime to the police to be expedited and simplified. Furthermore, increased efforts will be made to obtain information to prevent terrorist activity and support the investigations carried out by the Judicial Police.
Operation Summer 2016, which will begin on July 1, will be developed in the autonomous regions of Andalusia, Asturias, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, the Region of Valencia, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Madrid and Murcia. The operation will conclude on August 31 in all these regions except the Balearic Islands, where it will be extended until September 30.
To achieve the greatest possible level of police effectiveness and increase public security, coordination will be enhanced between the State law enforcement agencies and the regional and local police forces through so-called Security Councils. Furthermore, increased collaboration will take place between both the Spanish National Police force and the Spanish Guardia Civil and the public and private institutions making up the tourism sector.
In turn, the Central Government Representation Departments and Offices will be responsible for ensuring and overseeing the implementation and subsequent development of the Operation in each region, as well as for working with the local authorities to promote and prepare the implementation of joint or complementary task forces with the Local Police and other entities.