Spanish Interior Minister says tackling gang crime on Costa del Sol is among government’s ‘top priorities’

CRIME PLEDGE: Grande-Marlaska (inset) said the government would step up the fight against gangs Photo: Shutterstock

SPAIN’S Interior Minister has said tackling crime on the Costa del Sol and in the Campo de Gibraltar is among his top priorities while pledging to step up police efforts.

Fernando Grande-Marlaska said Madrid had spent the last eight months attempting to reverse what he said was chronic underinvestment in the area’s police.

He was speaking at a ceremony where medals were awarded to Civil Protection officers for their work in the Julen rescue attempt.

Grande-Marlaska said the government wanted to ensure the area popular with tourists and expatriates would remain safe.

“The issue of organised crime is one of our top concerns. We are using specialised units and intelligence to address it,” Grande-Marlaska said.

It comes after suspected gang and drugs-related crime led to shootings, bombings and a kidnapping last year which sparked calls from police unions to boost their resources.

There were 21 murders in Malaga Province last year compared to eight in 2017, according to Interior Ministry figures.

Unions representing National and Judicial Police in Malaga Province said in November that they did not have enough officers or equipment to tackle organised crime.

Maria Gamez, the Spanish government’s representative in Malaga Province, previously said police officers were working with “enormous efficiency” with the resources they already had.

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Joe Gerrard

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