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‘Cops have to buy their own bulletproof vests’

Many of Spain’s National Police Corps are having to pay up to the tune of €1,000 each for life-saving equipment such as bullet-proof vests and slash resistant clothing due to lack of government funding.

'Cops have to buy their own bulletproof vests'
“A lot of this kit is only guaranteed to be effective for ten years, so the investment has to be made again,” a police union spokesperson told The Local. Photo: Alex Dunham

Spain’s national police, responsible for dealing with high-risk situations like armed robberies and attacks, are having to reach deep into their own pockets to protect themselves from any potential harmful incident.

“On average each national policeman has to pay €1,000 for bullet-proof vests, slash resistant gloves and other equipment that can be the difference between life and death,” José María Benito Celador, spokesperson for Unified Police Union SUP, told The Local.

“A lot of this kit is only guaranteed to be effective for ten years, so the investment has to be made again.”

SUP has warned that only half of Spain’s national police force have their own slash resistant gloves and even fewer are equipped with bullet proof vests.

Other routine equipment like boots, torches, holsters and new uniforms usually have to be paid for by each individual policeman before he can go on patrol.

Police sources have told Spanish media that a lot of the equipment officers are given is in disrepair, with the situation only worsening during these times of crisis.

“The government has to invest in the safety of the people who are fighting to protect Spanish citizens,” Celador told The Local.

“Other police forces like the local police, who don’t have to deal with such dangerous situations, get their funding from regional governments and are far better equipped, and paid, than Spain’s national police.

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POLICE

Spain’s Civil Guard police officers allowed to have visible tattoos

Spain on Monday relaxed its policy banning officers from the country's oldest police force, the Guardia Civil, from exhibiting tattoos.

civil guard spain gun
The increasing popularity of tattoos has led police forces around the world to regulate their use. Photo: Rafa Rivas/AFP

Officers will now be allowed to display tattoos anywhere on their bodies “as long as they do not contain expressions that violate constitutional values or harm the discipline or image of the force,” the interior minister said in a statement.

“For the first time visible tattoos will be allowed on uniformed officers,” it added.

On the other hand, the decree prohibits hoop earrings, spikes, plugs and other inserts when they are visible in uniform, “except regular earrings, for both male and female personnel”.

The Guardia Civil mainly patrols and investigates crimes in rural areas, while Spain’s National Police focuses on urban areas.

Last year Spain’s leftist government appointed a woman to head the force for the first time in its 177-year history.

The increasing popularity of tattoos has led police forces around the world to regulate their use.

Los Angeles police are required to ensure that tattoos are not visible to the public while on-duty, while France’s Gendarmes police force also requires that they be covered.

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