Magistrate Cristina Ferrando calls for the “urgent reform” of the Criminal Procedure Act
The Judge of the Magistrates Court number 14 of Barcelona gave a conference at UIC Barcelona on security in Barcelona and the reform of the offence of theft.
Today, Monday 11 November, the Judge of the Magistrates Court number 14 of Barcelona, Cristina Ferrando Montalvá, called for the “urgent reform” of the Criminal Procedure Act for the purpose of reducing the number of thefts in the city of Barcelona, which caused “great alarm” among the community last summer.
In the Aula Magna of UIC Barcelona, where she delivered the conference A Magistrate Faced with the Insecurity in Barcelona: Reform of the Offence of Theft, the judge noted this change “would require a broad political consensus, which is currently difficult."
Ferrando went on to explain that it would also be necessary to increase “specialist courts, create courts with first destination judges and increase the number of duty courts” as well as increasing police presence.
The judge stressed that in the city of Barcelona “between 80 and 85% of victims are tourists,” which in her opinion “is detrimental to the city's image, and has serious repercussions for business and events.”
In terms of volume of crime, she noted that during the first half of 2019, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, thefts increased in Barcelona by 7.4% compared to 3.5% in Madrid and 0.5% for Spain as a whole. On the other hand, she highlighted that burglaries fell by 13.8% in Barcelona and 11.5% in Spain as a whole.
The judge pointed out that overall, this year’s murder rate is similar to last year's. She recalled the fact that “in July this year there were several very shocking violent murders, which generated a great deal of alarm in society”, but made it clear that Barcelona “has the same crimes and murders as any other European city that has a large volume of tourism.”
The judge also made reference to the holding of trials for theft and emphasised that, although there is “great proximity between the offence and the sentence", trials usually take place "without the defendant being present" and result “in a fine.” “They don't turn up because they are committing new thefts to pay fines,” she concluded.