Photo by: Lee Woolcock
Angel Lucas Serra
Local policeman, Catalan, 38
I work in Cerdanyola, a town of 55,000 inhabitants and 50,000 students, and there is hardly any serious crime. The most common problems are car thefts or vandalism. Market day is very stressful, because there are lots of pickpockets about.
I started at the age of 23, and the training was nine months at a boarding college in the south of Spain. They taught us everything, from how to use weapons to the elements of the law.
My first job was working with Customs at Barcelona Port, where I spent four years as a plain-clothes officer searching ships, lorries and cars for drugs, stolen luxury cars and unusual plants and animals. It was very interesting.
The biggest challenge to my job is having to do everything according to the law. Criminals can act with a lot more freedom.
What I love about it is getting close to people. When something bad has happened and everyone’s stressed or nervous, you have to try and quickly understand what’s happened and keep a cool head.
In comparison with other European countries, I think people are a lot more respectful of the law here. They are a little bit scared of the consequences.
The most dangerous situation I’ve been involved in was pursuing a stolen car. I’ve been to a few fights, but there are usually no weapons involved.
We all carry guns in Spain. It is a great responsibility. I would prefer not to have to carry it, but I feel more protected with it, and I also feel I can help people better by having it. I think the UK police should be extremely proud of the fact that they can do their job without them.
The Spanish justice system believes in the goodness of people in general. They don’t punish you hard, and offenders have a lot of opportunities to redeem themselves. There is very little power given to police officers, and if you have a good lawyer, you can usually avoid the worst type of punishment.
I find it quite easy to switch off. I have a wife and two children under three, so once I’m home, I focus on what my wife asks me to do, so I don’t have time to think about work. Before the kids, I used to do a lot of sport.
My favourite places in Barcelona are Montjuïc and the Collserola, because the air is fresh and you are with nature. I get very, very stressed walking down the Ramblas, because all I can think about is the amount of pickpocketing that is going on.