The Director General of Police in Spain, Ignacio Cosidó, has reported to the Senate Committee to detail crime and policing statistics for 2013.
Over the past year, reported crimes and misdemeanours dealt with by the National Police have declined by almost 5%, whereas police efficiency has increased by 2%, with spain now classed as being amongst the safest countries in Europe.
However, major offences have shown even more of a drop last year, with homicides and murders falling by almost 15%, crimes against sexual freedom fell by 8% in 2012 and another 1% last year, and robberies with violence or intimidation fell 12%.
There has however been an increase in one sector of criminal activity, with burglaries rising by 5%, but through new initiatives to combat this sort of crime, January 2014 has already seen a reverse in the trend, according to Cosidó.
Cosidó also explained how the “fight against terrorism is a permanent priority” for the National Police, who are continuing to battle to achieve the complete disappearance of terrorist activities, explaining how “The National Police has developed 29 activities last year that allowed for the arrest of 455 people”, all in connection with terrorism, both domestic and international.
During 2013, there were 719 investigations relating to organised criminal groups involved in trafficking, money laundering, fraud and similar activities, resulting in 386 gangs being broken up. A total of 4,121 people were arrested for their links to organized crime. Officers confiscated 157 real guns, 98 blank firing or compressed air weapons, 188 knives, almost 10,000 rounds, 662 cars, 55 trucks and 68 trailers or boats, and almost 20 million euro in various denominations and currencies.
Cosidó also spoke of the fight against trafficking of drugs, both nationally and internationally, and that during 2013 officers have seized 12,546 kilos of cocaine, almost 18% more than in 2012, 124 kilos of heroin, 115,652 kilos of hashish, 2,239 kilos of marijuana, more than 8,200 kilos of cannabis plants, 100,075 units of Ecstasy and 1,212 doses of LSD.
There were 2,773 activities relating to human trafficking operations in 2013, including illegal immigration or counterfeit documents, resulting in 6,565 people being detained, 7.7% more than in 2012. In the fight against trafficking and sexual exploitation, there was a 23.8% increase, with 970 arrests, thanks to new initiatives in place in that field during the last year.
There has also been a marked increase in promotional campaigns run through schools, with officers from the National Police presenting nearly 13,000 lectures and informational activities for students, parents and teachers in over 5,800 schools. The talks covered subjects such as Internet threats, bullying, drug abuse, violence or gangs and are aimed at prevention and awareness and were accompanied by the dissemination of more than 126,000 leaflets and 2,400 posters.
Similar awareness and reassurance actions have taken place at senior centres around the country, with some 691 informal talks being presented, whereas there has also been 3,526 meetings with public and private institutions involved in tourism, aimed at tackling this sector of vulnerable visitors.
Cosidó closed his speech by detailing how the commitment to modern policing strategies lies with three basic pillars: intelligence, technological innovation and international cooperation. By expanding their activities trough social networks and modernisation of control rooms, it is hoped that the police are able to deal with incidents and enquiries far faster than ever before, whilst being able to tackle potential problems before they occur.
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