The Royal Gibraltar Police needs “more boots on the ground”.
That was one of the stark messages from Commissioner Eddie Yome as he prepares to retire tomorrow after 45 years of policing, the last six at the helm of the RGP.
Having joined as a teenage cadet from a family of local police officers, Mr Yome, 60, has watched from up close as the force and the community it polices has changed over the best part of five decades.
He is confident he leaves a better force than the one he took over, a cohesive body of men and women where individuals are empowered to take decisions and stand by the choices they make.
The RGP today is unrecognisable from the force he joined at the age of 15, tasked not just with the routine policing duties of any small community, but with game-changing demands including counter-terrorism, financial crime and policing at sea in a hotspot for transboundary drug trafficking and migration.
Gibraltar’s location means that, while the RGP enjoys strong relationships with law enforcement bodies in the UK and elsewhere, it must be able to provide an immediate response across all the areas that fall under its responsibility. It is no easy task.
Asked what his successor, Commissioner designate Ian McGrail, needs most as he takes over the most challenging, sensitive post in local policing, Mr Yome does not hesitate.
“I think he needs more boots on the ground,” he told the Chronicle in a wide-ranging interview.
“We’ve submitted a business case to the government two years ago now and I think we’ve been vindicated by the HMIC inspection and by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which also came to inspect us.”
“Everybody is agreed that we need boots on the ground.”
FULL STORY IN TODAY’S PRINT AND E-EDITIONS