A spokesperson from the Catalan Regional Police Force, the Mossos d’Esquadra made an announcement yesterday stating
“The so-called citizen patrols who go after pickpockets on the Barcelona Metro are not doing any good. They are increasing the sense of insecurity and using tactics that are bordering on criminal offences ”
Citizen patrol groups donning read berets more commonly known as ” Guardian Angels” have formed and taken steps in a bid to stop suspected thieves operating on the city’s subway system.
In recent days, five uniformed members of the self-styled Barcelona Guardian Angels began patrolling the Metro wearing red berets and white tee shirts with Guardian Angels emblazoned in bright red across them.
These “Angels” are modelled on the New York Guardian Angels who were a controversial volunteer crime-prevention organisation that was created in the notorious Bronx at the beginning of the 80’s.
These Guardian Angels style themselves as a kind of not-for-profit, self-organising group of citizens, trained primarily in martial arts, who fight for justice at their own cost and risk.
This organisation is run by Eliana Guerrero, a 47-year-old real estate agent from Colombia who began patrolling the Barcelona subway system 12 years ago, armed with whistle and pepper spray.
The Guardian Angels have grown in popularity with the Metro users in Barcelona admiring the actions of the group although Barcelona’s Government head of security Albert Batlle said he will seek to stop the Guardian Angel patrols citing the responsibility falls at the feet of Barcelona City hall.
Batlle went on to say ” We can not have self-organised groups. It’s extremely dangerous,”
The Catalan police back this up , stating that officers stop members of Guardian Angel patrols when they spot them on security cameras.
In reply the leader of the ” Barcelona Guardian Angels” said ” We have 50 members of the group patrolling Barcelona’s Metro system every day.”
The leader went on to say ” they have not made any “arrests” yet, but if they do catch a thief “red-handed,” they will detain them and call the police”
It appears the deterrent is clearly working on the Barcelona subways.
We ask our readers do you back the Guardian Angels and would they make you feel safer?