Since last the 15th, the agents of the Local Police of Santa Cruz de Tenerife They have a clear order from their superiors: identify the homeless “who wander” in the commercial area of the city center because “they disturb the users of terraces and shops.” This can be read in the telematic application through which the orders are transmitted from superiority but which were endorsed verbally in the so-called roll calls. The service chiefs transmitted a very specific instruction to the agents: “Those people should be chased away from commercial areas.”
The number of homeless people in Tenerife skyrockets, with almost 1,000 more than in 2020
The identification of people who have not committed any crime (neither criminal nor administrative) is prohibited by the Citizen Security Law, as recalled this Sunday by the Csif union in a statement in which it demands that the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council annul that order “for attacking current legality and fundamental rights” and for “positioning agents of the local authority as repressors of freedoms and rights to satisfy the economic interests of individuals such as merchants in the downtown area of the city” .
The decision of the City Council, governed by the Canarian Coalition and the Popular Party, is a direct consequence of the meeting that the councilor responsible for the Centro-Ifara district, Purificación Dávila, had with merchant associations in the area a week before the order. At that meeting, the businessmen expressed their discomfort at the levels of insecurity that they perceive in the area, specifically on the famous Castillo Street, the backbone of traditional Santa Cruz commerce. According to the newspaper The day, at that meeting the merchants specifically spoke of people who enter businesses “and destroy the displays,” or “frighten women.” There is no record of any reports being filed at that meeting. “You can’t wait for a misfortune to happen one day,” they told the councilor.
Purificación Dávila, from the Canarian Coalition, did not wait long to bring these alarming statements to the attention of her Corporation and party colleague Gladis de León, responsible for Security, among other areas. The reaction has been that since the 15th, the deputy commissioner currently in charge of the Local Police (the commissioner is on leave and close to her retirement) transmitted the corresponding order to the group leaders. And specifically the inspector of the operational group, with badge number 11694, transmitted it to all the agents: “Identification of “homeless” people who wander in the area and are annoying [sic] to users of terraces and businesses.” The order specified the shifts during which these harassment actions would take place: between three in the afternoon and nine at night.
There is no record of any social measure adopted after that meeting with the merchants to resolve or mitigate the problem of homeless people who find themselves in this situation not only in the downtown area of the city.
This is not the first time that the Santa Cruz City Council has been involved in this mandate in a controversy with people in situations of exclusion or with housing problems. Last August he proceeded to eviction of a group of them who was camping in another area of the city, specifically in the Maritime Park, very close to the Adán Martín auditorium. Social groups complained about the limited response capacity and resources of the City Council, which for some time has been pursuing with the Local Police people who have been forced to spend the night in their cars due to the loss of their homes and the impossibility of access some due to their scarcity and prices. According to Cáritas, more than 2,700 people sleep rough on the island of Tenerife, although this is an underestimated reality, experts warn.
Councilor Purificación Dávila, who took on the merchants’ complaints against homeless people, is a Social Graduate and Higher Technician in Social Integration, and boasts in her resume that appears on the City Council’s website that she has “a marked social vocation,” which which has led him, according to that same text, to “have presided over the Canarian Mountaineering Federation for ten years.” Likewise, she says she collaborates “actively in countless social activities, in the neighborhood association and youth groups in her neighborhood,” El Toscal.
The Councilor for Security, Gladys de León, also from the Canarian Coalition, has not responded to the request for the municipal version made by this newspaper directly to her WhatsApp.
“Homelessness is undoubtedly a social problem, never a police problem. We have not heard any statement in this regard from the social affairs area of the City Council regarding these instructions to the local agents, nor any directly from the security area,” laments the Csif of the Local Police of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the statement released this Sunday. . “They are people with various medical or social problems, and the last thing they need is to be persecuted by the Local Police for having to live on the streets,” he concludes.
The Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council is governed by an agreement between the Canary Coalition and the Popular Party, although the elections were won by the Socialist Party. The mayor is José Manuel Bermúdez, from CC.