The police union claims that security at Gran Canaria Airport is at risk

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This is what the alternative Sundial political union claims. Using the ARGOS computer system, foreign nationals are recognized upon entry and criminals are prevented from entering the country. The Ministry of the Interior has issued a tender for the maintenance of the computer system for 4.4 billion euros.

Shortage of national police officers at the airport

Union members express to their concern about “the shortage of national police officers at Gran Canaria International Airport, causing long waiting times to identify foreign nationals – particularly travelers from the UK post-Brexit”.

crash computer system

According to the ASP police union, a similar “crash” of the ARGOS system occurred at Las Palmas airport at other national airports, including Madrid. Therefore, the organization believes that “continuous updating and maintenance of the ARGOS software is absolutely necessary and an essential tool for identifying citizens by DNI or passport. The purpose is to track down people with criminal records using international searches.”

Prevent criminals from entering the country

ASP particularly notes the system’s importance in identifying non-EU passengers, who come from non-EU countries – as well as migrants who initially arrived on small boats – in an attempt to enter Spain. “Citizens hope that there will be no more crimes already taking place in Spain, but also that criminals with a criminal record do not leave, so that they cannot escape Spanish justice.”

Defects threaten safety

A spokesperson said: “For border control workers, the ARGOS program is essential in providing security guarantees for both police officers and civilians. However, at Gran Canaria airport, officers often encountered failures in the system, although it is likely that vital.”

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British special

“Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Airport is the fifth largest in the country in terms of passengers, after Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Palma de Mallorca and Malaga. In 2021, seven million passengers passed through, a large part of them English tourists who have passed through the airport since Brexit. European.

On the busiest days, such as Saturday afternoons, officers don’t have time to go to the toilet, says an ASP spokesperson. Hence no one should get sick or drop out of school for other reasons. If that happens, the rows will get longer than they already are.

Schengen Evaluation Committee

In February 2022, the Schengen Evaluation Committee was formed, which consists of the member states of the Schengen Treaty. The task of the commission is to evaluate all limits. It is therefore important that the airports and the ARGOS system operate at a national level. In addition, there should be control at the European level with modern equipment and good facilities. However, Schengen Committee reports are not yet mandatory.

According to ASP, the main claim is that “there are not enough staff to cover the long and tedious shifts that are taking place at this airport”. “Ultimately, everything affects the quality of police work. That is why we must stress the urgent need for people in border posts.”

Investments of AENA and the Ministry of Interior

Following complaints from the ASP police organization and border officials at El Prat airport about the outage of the ARGOS system, consulted the state transparency portal and AENA’s contracting portal, with the aim of explaining the public investments made by Pedro Sánchez’s government to maintain these tools.

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It turned out that the ministry had put out a tender for 4.4 billion euros to modernize the system. The question now is how long the bidding will take to complete.

Megan Vasquez

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