Spain Cracking Down On

Police Reporting Apps


438078640 820337540119979 6511720589073761281 nPHOTO: GUARDIA CIVIL21 JUN - Аuthorities in Spain have made first significant steps against apps and social media groups notoriously distributing information on police control spots.

In recent years drivers in the country increasingly use applications or join WhatsApp groups created for the purpose of warning of traffic crashes and reminding of speed limits. But another of their features is what worries authorities.


It is the option to report the location of radars and controls carried out by Spain's Guardia Civil, the institution responsible for traffic enforcement. At Guardia, a ROADPOL member force, officers are concerned since this way drivers are warned in advance to bypass control locations, choosing other roads. The issue is on the list of Spain's General Road Traffic Directorate (DGT) as well with its objective being the eventual ban of these applications.


Recently authorities in the autonomous community of Galicia made the first steps. The Subdelegation of the Government of A Coruña has imposed the first two sanctions. The first is related to the use of a popular application and the second has been imposed on a private individual who managed different WhatsApp groups in order to alert more than 15,000 users of Guardia Civil road controls. Both sanctions were imposed for violating article 36.23 of the Citizen Security Law, which considers the use of images or personal or professional data of authorities or members Pere Navarroof the security forces to be a serious offence. The violation of this law has been considered a crime and a possible impediment for police operations, given it could help criminals flee from authorities. Other police stations have begun to make similar complaints to put an end to this phenomenon.


For its part, the DGT is studying new legal measures that allow for harsher sanctions for these practices, firstly persecuting the administrators of WhatsApp groups. “We consider they carry out an unsupportive act that goes against the waterline of road safety and allows offenders to evade the law”, says DGT Chief Pere Navarro. According to him, if successful, these apps and groups could be banned as well as harsher sanctions imposed. “We hope we will be able to go as far as even fining individual users of these apps and groups who report the exact locations of road controls”, Navarro adds.