On the occasion of the start of the 2023/2024 olive harvesting campaign, the Guardia Civil has set up a system throughout Andalusia, including the province of Almeria, aimed at surveillance and control, both in the olive harvesting and in its transport and reception and distribution points, in order to prevent the theft and robbery of this fruit.
With the implementation of the system, the control of olive transport and the inspection of reception points (mills, cooperatives, purchasing points, etc.) will be intensified to check the lawful origin of the olives received.
Likewise, the olive harvesting work (collection, transport and reception), which will take place once the harvesting campaign is over, will be controlled, with the express authorisation of the owners of the respective estates being a requirement. For all these tasks, tasks have been distributed among the different units of the Almeria Command, such as the Citizen Security Posts, ROCA Teams, Nature Protection Service, Traffic Subsector, Organic Judicial Police Unit, Information Group and Citizen Security Unit (USECI), among others. This campaign will also be able to count on additional support, in case of specific needs, such as the Reserve and Security Group (G.R.S.) of Seville and the Cavalry Squadron of the Guardia Civil based in Madrid. This Unit, with the resources it possesses, is very important for better surveillance in the most rugged areas of the province, so it could be common to find the Guardia Civil service on horseback among the olive groves or personnel from the Nature Protection Service on their characteristic motorbikes.
In this campaign, for control from the air, the Guardia Civil is incorporating a helicopter equipped with night vision and thermal camera technology, as well as several drones, which, apart from the aforementioned systems, have silent flight and programming by coordinates, which will allow sweeps of large areas of land, as well as difficult access, and return to base with all the images collected.
The Guardia Civil de Andalucía recommends that a series of safety tips and a constant need to collaborate for the collective wellbeing be taken into account, such as:
PREVENTION AND SELF-PROTECTION MEASURES
Awareness to reduce the risks of being victims of potential aggressions (robberies/burglaries), improving, in the case of not being able to avoid the robbery/burglary, the investigation actions.
Self-protection measures include:
Start harvesting in the areas closest to paths and roads, as well as the areas most visible from them.
Avoid leaving harvested olives, machinery and utensils in the field, roads or outside the facilities.
Move the harvested product as soon as possible to the buying station, oil mill, warehouse or store.
At times of greater risk, whether due to the volume of accumulated product, its location or the lunar phase, adopt the most appropriate self-protection measures.
Move the harvested product as soon as possible to the buying station, oil mill, store or warehouse.
At times of greater risk, whether due to the volume of accumulated product, its location or the moon phase, adopt the most appropriate self-protection measures.
Risk elements are: the presence or movement of unknown persons in the area, theft in nearby olive groves, clear nights, especially when there is a full moon, etc.
If the machinery (harvesters, blowers, etc.) has to remain in the field without protection, use fastening systems to make theft more difficult.
Check the machinery and tools used (make, model, serial number, etc.).
COMMUNICATE AND SHARE INFORMATION
Report by the quickest means within your reach any theft/burglary as well as the presence of persons or vehicles that by their attitude may lead you to suspect it:
Keep at hand and provide the people who work for you with the contact telephone numbers for the Guardia Civil. Bear in mind the existence of the ALERTCOP application, through which citizens can provide their location, images and videos in real time.
Advise all those who move in the area to note down the number plates of suspicious vehicles, in order to inform the Guardia Civil.
Encourage your staff to pass on any information, clues or suspicions to the Guardia Civil.
Inform and disseminate among your staff the issues, indications and risk indicators that may be useful to avoid being the target of olive theft or robbery.
Share security and self-protection measures, the risks or thefts suffered, etc. with the agricultural organisations.
Report as soon as possible any suspicious activity or additional risk that you detect.
Report promptly to the Guardia Civil any “dubious” commercial activity with olives, or with any machinery or utensils used in the harvesting of which you become aware, so that it can be investigated by the competent authorities.