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Marbella council says 'enough is enough' to loutish behaviour and starts to get tough

Shirtless tourists in Puerto Banús this week; fines could become more commonplace.
Shirtless tourists in Puerto Banús this week; fines could become more commonplace. / Josele-Lanza
  • The local authority is concerned that the resort's image is being damaged by disreputable tourists, mostly foreigners, especially in Puerto Banús,

Councillors in Marbella are concerned that the resort’s image and reputation are being damaged by antisocial behaviour, especially because in recent weeks there has been an increase in the presence of drunken tourists in the Puerto Banús area.

Javier Porcuna, councillor for Security, told a press conference this week that new regulations are now being drawn up to control behaviour which is considered antisocial, which includes going shirtless in certain places, and that fines will be imposed on those who do not comply.

He said this initiative was already being planned when, on Sunday 28 May, ten people were injured and two British tourists arrested, in a hit-and-run incident described at the time as an isolated incident.

He stressed that the local authority had already decided to reinforce the police presence in Puerto Banús, with six more Local Police officers being assigned to the area. The original plan was for these measures to be implemented from 13 June to 30 September, but the council decided to put them into effect earlier because the Marbella Luxury Weekend was scheduled to take place beforehand.

Porcuna didn’t give details of the instructions which have been given to the police, but he stressed that “situations such as those which have occurred recently will not be tolerated.”

Keeping checks on bars

Without referring explicitly to drunken foreign tourists, the councillor explained that the local authority will be keeping a careful eye on establishments which take advantage of their customers’ antisocial behaviour. “We are not talking about using powers which are beyond our means, but there are licences which are granted at our total discretion, and when looking at those we will analyse in detail whether we are contributing to the improvement of the Puerto Banús product or whether we are taking a step backwards,” he said.

However, he stressed that this initiative not only needs to be adopted from the policing point of view but also needs cooperation from business owners. Some already take into account the type of clientele they want and the type they don’t, but others do not feel the same way. “We have to decide where we need to focus our attention,” he said.

Porcuna admitted that tourists and customers cannot be selected at the airport or in the street, but he said that “there is a wish to try to encourage some people to come to Marbella and discourage others from doing so”.

The councillor explained that the local authority wants to modify the regulation, although this takes longer, rather than issue a decree, because that is normally only done on a temporary basis. The reports which have to be prepared beforehand have already been approved, he said.

He stressed, however, that the council will not be able to reinforce the numbers of National Police officers, because the interior ministry in Madrid is already only providing partial cover for the summer holidays, and although there is very good cooperation between the council and National Police headquarters in Marbella, the resources available are limited.

Enforce the existing rules

Meanwhile, the Partido Popular has called on the council not only to increase the fines for contravening the regulations but also to provide more specific details of what constitutes antisocial behaviour.

The PP suggests that a cross-party working group should be set up to review the existing regulations and impose harsher penalties in response to “new problems which are arising”. They also want existing regulations to be applied more effectively. At present, fines of between 750 and 3,000 euros can be imposed, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Walking shirtless in the street, holding outdoor drinking parties or having sex in certain places are already considered offences.

The party is worried that the media are starting to portray Marbella unfavourably.