One of the reasons why I raised this issue in the first place is because there appears to be a huge increase in police activity in and around the Costa del Sol area. The example I gave is one of many I could have given of apparent police 'harrassment' of drivers, which I personally find offensive, and totally uneccessary. Have a look at previous posts in these forums and you will find many many more examples of drivers being 'fined' for ever increasingly obscure and often 'doubtful' offences.
I would like to point out one or two things, to try and dispel a few myths about the differences in policing in Spain and in the UK.
1. Policing in the UK is done largely by consent, whereas in Spain it is not.
2.UK police do NOT stand on virtually every roundabout and junction, all times of day or night, in cities,towns,villiages and el campo, stopping vehicles requesting all sorts of documents and production of glasses, high visibilty jackets, warning triangles,spare light bulbs etc, etc and to ensure all occupants are wearing seat belts. It is ILLEGAL in the UK for the police to stop vehicles in this manner,as they have to have a legitimate reason to do so, ie they witness a moving traffic offence or the vehicle is defective in some way. They are NOT allowed to stop vehiles indiscriminently or set up road blocks, only in exceptional circumstances, ie prison escapes or child murders.
3. Tourists and foreign visitors in the UK are not 'targetted' by the police in those areas where they visit or are resident. Here on the Costa del Sol, villages and urbanisations and other areas with large numbers of expats are regularly the targets of police activity. Obviously the inference here is that this is a deliberate policy, and I have absolutely no evidence to substantiate this, only my experience and of others having lived here for over 5 years now.
Bobaol mentions in a post below, in relation to mobile phones, and I quote, "I can't see why this has been brought up as if it only happens in Spain...". Yes police in the UK stamp down in these sort of things as well, but NOT in the manner they are here in Spain.
If I ever got the opportunity, I would like to ask senior policers two questions:
1.How many terrorists, rapists, robbers, murderers, burglars or thieves have you arrested as a result of randomly stopping vehicles. I suspect the answer is not very many.
2.How much money in fines have you collected as a result of randomly stopping vehicles. I suspect the answer is quite a lot.
Of course, offenders have to be caught and punished, and I am not for one moment pretending otherwise. What I am saying that it is blatently obvious to me, that certainly withing the last 12/18 months or so, police have moved into 'revenue collecting mode' and appear to be targetting more and more expat areas, which is totally unacceptable.
For those of you who think I have an axe to grind, and question why I live in Spain, the answer is very simple. I love this place and the people, but recently I sense a slight change in attitude towards expats. I may be wrong, and hope I am. I am approaching my late 50s, drive a 3 year old Spanish car and I live in a very small community between Estepona and Benahavis. I probably get stopped about once, sometimes twice a week, I have been breathalised twice at road blocks, along with a whole load of other people, and the only fine I have ever had in over 40 years of driving is a parking ticket in London in 1972.
So, you may say, what am I complaining about if I am going about my daily business. See if you like being stopped a couple of times a week for the past 12 months or so, or being waved through countless road blocks. It's not quite as bad as living in Nigeria or Israel which I have done in the past, but sometimes it feels like it.
Sorry about all that. Had to get it off my chest and I feel so much better for the experience!