In what could only be described as a dramatic series of events, an RAF Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft found itself deliberately blocked by a Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) car on the runway at Gibraltar International Airport last Wednesday as the officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant for one of the passengers onboard. The RGP car was itself, reportedly pursued onto the runway by an MoD vehicle attempting to stop it from interfering in the aircraft’s take off but was unsuccessful and the RGP vehicle kept the A400 on the tarmac for two hours as the MoD and RGP negotiated over who had jurisdiction in the case.
The incident saw the closure of nearby Winston Churchill Avenue causing major disruptions to local transport and businesses. This also left huge numbers of travellers attempting to head to nearby Spain stranded at the runway barriers and caused vehicle tailbacks deep into the nearby town. Now, the local community want answers as to why the situation was allowed to escalate this far.
The situation arose when the Chief Justice of Gibraltar signed an arrest warrant authorising police officers to detain a serving member of the British armed forces and seize computer equipment belonging to them. When the RGP attempted to carry out the arrest however, the MoD refused to cooperate stating that as a serving member of the armed forces any investigation carried out was under their jurisdiction. When it was found that the person in question was aboard an RAF aircraft about to leave the island the RGP made the drastic decision to stop the aircraft. After two hours the person in question was handed over to the RGP and their laptop was seized.
In the last few days it has been reported in Gibraltar’s local press that the arrest concerned images on the laptop that were “paedophile” in nature but the name of the person in question or which branch of the armed forces they serve in has not been revealed. The MoD have only confirmed an incident had taken place stating;
As this incident has occurred as a result of an on-going police investigation we are unable to comment further at this time.