British expat calls for more English speaking police in Spain

Published:  17 May at 6 PM
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A long-term British resident on the Spanish Costa del Sol has called for the recruitment of more English-speaking police.

Ed Wilcox, a resident of Duquesa for the past 35 years, is appealing for more English-speaking police to be employed in the popular tourism and expat destination. His call comes just several days after he was twice asked to interpret between British victims of crime and the investigating officers at the scene. The retired computer repairman believes the high number of Britons in the region justifies his request that the majority of police on the beat should have a command of the English language.

On the first occasion, 75-year old Wilcox was asked by local lawmen to translate for a British family who’d been burgled whilst staying in the Los Hidalgos development. Although he was only a passer-by, he agreed, saying that the Gardia Civil and local police were efficient and polite, but clearly couldn’t cope with the English language. The following day he was again asked to help after four Norwegian tourists had ther passports and a laptop stolen from their car.

Speaking to the Olive Press, Wilcox said the region is benefiting from a boom in tourism, making it essential that police and other officials be able to communicate in the English language in order to help expats and tourists in trouble. He suggests that translators could be employed by the police in the same way as they are in local hospitals. Spanish police, he added, are legally obliged to provide translators during court cases, but aren’t forced to do so when dealing with victims of local criminals.

His plea has touched a nerve amongst Olive Press reporters as, on a recent visit to the barracks of the Manilva Guardia Civil, employees of the paper were asked to translate for a tourist who’d had his wallet stolen. Clarification of the facts of that particular case took half an hour, but a request to the Malaga police for a comment hasn’t yet been acknowledged.
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