The discrete, intelligence-led cooperation that exists between police here and security services in Spain is critical to keeping Gibraltar safe from terrorism and will endure the challenges of Brexit, police Commissioner Eddie Yome said this week.
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Yome offered a rare glimpse of how the Royal Gibraltar Police is facing up to the difficult challenge of countering the EU-wide threat of terrorism, a task that places heavy demands on skills and resources.
The deterrent side of Gibraltar’s counter terrorism strategy is visible on the streets in the form of armed patrols and uniform presence at key locations and public events, designed to signal Gibraltar’s readiness and send a message of reassurance to the community.
But the bulk of the work is conducted out of sight and involves real-time detailed, constant analysis of publicly-available information and secret intelligence to preempt problems before they occur.
To protect Gibraltar from the threat of terrorism, specialist police officers here conduct “silent work behind the scenes”, liaising closely with security officials in the UK, Spain and Morocco in delicate, sensitive relationships.
“There’s considerable ongoing work happening all the time in that intelligence field,” Mr Yome said.
“That constant liaison is not in the public domain.”
“Being able to pick up the phone and knowing who you’re dealing with, in whatever jurisdiction, in that world is crucial.”
“It’s all about trust, being able to deal with that information coming through.”
“What the people see is the armed patrol providing the deterrent, but there’s a lot happening in the background.”
FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS