Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Eliott, nest of undercover activity

The lobby and the bar of the Eliott Hotel looked like a scene from a movie yesterday morning – and a dream come true for an over-eager local journalist.

The place was crawling with undercover policemen. Either someone important was in town, or something heavy was going down. Not only that, but the Chronicle, it seemed, was the only newspaper there. Some of the plainclothes officers stood out prominently.

With their earpieces, microphones and darting eyes, they were quite obviously keeping a sharp lookout for something, or someone. Others tried to blend in, milling around the lobby or sitting outside on the sunny terrace, low-key yet equally vigilant.

But the story, alas, evaporated before we could say “Front Page Scoop!” There was no high-level visitor. Neither was anyone about to get busted. A brief phone call to the Royal Gibraltar Police quickly confirmed that this was part of a local training course in VIP protection.

Eight officers, under the supervision of an experienced instructor, were learning reconnaissance techniques and practising how to work together as a bodyguard team.

An RGP spokesman added that there was no specific reason for the timing of the exercise and that it was just one of a number of courses run every year.

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