A quick judgment about the incident in which, it is reported, two Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) Officers went into Spain and searched a house is not called for. One should not jump to immediate and unsupported conclusions attributing fault to any RGP senior officers absent evidence showing that the operation was sanctioned (officially or unofficially) by such an officer. The Gibraltar Police Authority (GPA) have requested a report of the incident. Once this report is available one would hope that, if appropriate, disciplinary action will ensue.
That the report commisioned by the GPA is to be prepared by the RGP itself could raise questions but again patience is called for. Pre-judgment of the Report will only skew and undermine proper and prudent comment and criticism once it is made public, if indeed any comment or criticisms is warranted.
What is not forgivable, however, is that such an incident has occurred at all especially as , apparently, there are established procedures to cater for cross-border police cooperation. Unforgivable not least because of the embarrassment that it has caused Gibraltar. Embarrassment that is magnified by the reaction that there is in Gibraltar following incursions into Gibraltar waters by the Guardia Civil. At least, usually, the Guardia Civil have the excuse of "hot pursuit", however weak that excuse might be. It is apparent that the actions of the two RGP officers was pre-meditated and planned.
The Chief Minister is to be congratulated for having publicly apologised knowing how unpopular that apology will be received by the electorate. It also begs the question of whether Constitutionally the apology has come from the right person bearing in mind the Governor's constitutional responsibility for the police.
An apology was inevitable, Gibraltar has received apologies when there have been incursions by the Guardia Civil, reciprocity of behaviour was essential. Further, I trust and hope that the Spanish authorities will take the same view as was taken when the Guardia Civil landed on our shores and not prosecute the offending officers. If there is no reciprocity and a prosecution of RGP officers in Spain were to ensue, the harm it will do to cross-border relations at a local level will be incalculable.
Whatever may follow on from that incident, I remember, as a teenager and young man, that during the closed frontier era my elders considered it of the utmost importance that Gibraltar and its institutions should behave impeccably in the face of the greatest provocation. It was important, not least, because it was considered to be an example of democracy in the face of the acts of an unforgiving dictator, Franco. Spain has moved on a long way since those days but the views held by those elders still hold good today. Gibraltar and its institutions must, and in fairness usually do, behave and act impeccably,
Hopefully this unfortunate and embarrassing incident is an isolated one.