Unhelpfulness of the Police

by Aline
(Banbury, Oxfordshire, England)

I am disabled and unfortunately, whilst we were at Los Gigantes, my handbag with over £3,000 of jewellery, money etc. was stolen. My husband and I are both senior citizens.

We immediately went to the local Police Station, where a nice young man tried to help us, even though he didn't speak any English and unfortunately we speak no Spanish. So I typed the report up for him. He told us to go to Puerto de la Cruz as they had English speakers there. We went, but my disabled parking disc was amongst the items stolen, so we couldn't find anywhere to park. My husband dropped me off, whilst he went to find somewhere.

When I hobbled into the Police Station on my walking stick, all that they did was "shove" a piece of paper with a number on it in my hand and took me to the door, pointing downhill. They refused to let me even sit down, even though they could see how distressed I was. When I started to walk into an office to sit down, someone suddenly appeared from the back and took me to a waiting room, where they just left me. I didn't have a mobile phone or any money, as I had been robbed. I didn't know what the number was that had been given to me, or what they meant me to do with it.

I was crying by this time and also having a job to breathe, as my heart spray was also stolen. Still they didn't try to help me. They didn't know I had a husband or anyone at all.

Eventually my husband arrived (he works for the Police in England and was amazed at their attitude). He took me back to our apartment, where we contacted the lady who owns our apartment. Luckily she is an English teacher and she came back with us to the Police Station. There had been four or five of them when I arrived at the Police Station the first time and two or three of them had seemed quite aggressive. When we arrived back with our landlady, she said that "No wonder, as they were Police from the mainland and were known to be very unhelpful". They still didn't seem to want to help, but our landlady rang her cousin who is a magistrate and her sister who works at the Police Station. After a few phone calls, a young man eventually came to help us. He did the report with our landlady's help and he commented that this had been happening a lot to tourists and it was the "Romanies" doing it.

We have been to Majorca 14 times and mainland Spain several times and have always loved being amongst Spaniards, but this experience has totally put us off Tenerife. Apparently the number they gave me was a police number in Madrid, but we didn't know that. They wouldn't even let me use their phone to ring it, so that someone could explain to me in English what the situation was.

Could you please let me have the details of the Chief of Police, as I wish to make a formal complaint? The other awful thing is that we weren't even insured, as apparently when you put a wheelchair into a car, it does away with the car boot and goods in cars without boots aren't insured. I couldn't believe how dreadful this experience of Spanish police was. My husband said the Police here in the UK would definitely have helped. They would have offered me a chair immediately and also would have let us use the phone to the Madrid Office. It wasn't as though I wanted to ring England or anything.

Reply from John, your webmaster

Hi Aline,

What an awful experience for you to go through. I can tell from the tone of your submission that you're upset and angry. Unfortunately, despite extensive searching of the Internet, I can't seem to find anything resembling contact details for the Chief of Police.

My best suggestion would be to initally contact the British Consulate in Santa Cruz and see if they can offer any advice.

I am able to give you their contact details:

Telephone: (+34) 902 109356
Email: Tenerife.Consulate@fco.gov.uk

Good luck.

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