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Brothers in Arms


It was back in 1998 when Simon Debono decided to join the Royal Gibraltar Police.


A year later, his younger brother Tony signed up – following in his big brother’s footsteps.


Since then, the brothers have clocked up more than 51 years of police service between them.


And despite their many years upholding the Thin Blue Line – it’s actually a rare occasion when they get to work together. 


But the first time the brothers teamed up was in 2003, when they formed a search team to help look for the body of Simon Parkes, who went missing in Gibraltar in 1986.


Since then, the fanatical Chelsea Football Club fans, who were both born in Chelsea, London, to a Gibraltarian dad and English mother, have enjoyed diverse careers in the force – which they both agree is one of the main attractions of being a police officer.


Simon, 49, who was 23 when he joined the RGP, said: “We don’t work together often, as our careers have taken a different path. However, on certain big events or if we are working overtime as Response Team Officers, we may get the odd chance to work alongside each other, which makes me very proud.


“I love working with my brother. We are both old school and he brings a lot of knowledge and experience to the job like I do, and this is noticed when patrolling together out on the streets.”



Simon worked as a British Airways flight attendant for around four years and travelled to the cities across the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Europe before joining the RGP.


The dad of two explained: “My parents moved to the Rock two years before I signed up to be a police officer. Being half Gibraltarian due to my father, plus the love I had for the country during my visits as a kid growing up, I wanted to live here. And what better way than to work in an organisation which helps and serves the people of Gibraltar.”


Simon worked as a Response Team officer for the first 12 years of his career, before doing 10 years in Community Policing. He is also a Licensed Search Team officer. But these days you’ll find him running a software programme called Cyclops, which records everything from public calls, crime reports, custody records, dockets and police intelligence.



He adds that he has “thoroughly enjoyed” his 26-year-career so far.


“I love the challenges the job brings, with no one day being the same as the other, which is what makes the job exciting. Helping and assisting people makes the job feel worthwhile and gives self-satisfaction. However, taking away people’s liberty is not easy and can be one of the hardest parts of the job. 


“But law enforcement is necessary, and as long as you conduct yourself in a professional manner, then there should never be any issues. As in any other job, there are good times and bad times, and I am glad to say there has been more good than bad. The job however is not for everyone, so I think those who might be interested in joining, I would say think about it extensively, and if you can tick most of the boxes, then do it, as I have no regrets about my decision to join many years ago.”


Simon, who briefly played for local Chelsea rivals Fulham as a teenager, added that policing in Gibraltar has changed “dramatically” over the years.


He said: “The organisation has become more professional and has moved with the challenging times. We have gone from the old guidelines of Judges Rules to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. Our organisation has had to create new departments to cover various crimes, which were very far and few between back in the days, such as the Economic Crime Unit, the Domestic Abuse Team, the Digital Forensics Unit and the monitoring of sex offenders etc, which puts a strain on the organisation. 


“There are also bigger events now in Gibraltar, such as UEFA football matches and music festivals that need policing. Also, social media has changed the way we police in both a positive and negative way, within the community.”



As for Tony, 47, who joined at the age of 21 back in 1999, he studied Graphic Design at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design and worked in Gibraltar as a graphic designer before joining the force.


When asked why he joined the RGP, Tony replied: “I never gave it a thought until after living in Gibraltar for a year and discussing the job with Simon.”


Over the years the dad of two worked as a Response Team officer, worked on Tobacco Squads, joined the Dynamic Entry Unit and worked alongside the Criminal Investigation Department and the Drug Squad on many operations whilst he was s Detective Constable in the Crime Division. And whilst working as a Response Team officer, RGP Commissioner Richard Ullger was one of his sergeants.


Tony is currently a Crime Prevention and Security Advisor.



As for what working with his big brother is like, he agreed that they’ve not had much opportunity over the years to work together, but added: “More recently, Simon and I have been able to work together on events and during overtime shifts on Response Team.


“Simon is a very experienced officer and even at this late stage of my career, I still look for his support and advice on work matters and he always provides it without hesitation.”


The keen cyclist went on to offer his advice to those thinking about a career in the RGP. 



He said: “Seriously consider your character and resilience in taking up the role of a Police Constable. The biggest test to an officer is the attention you will get as a police officer, which will happen everywhere and anywhere. People, with the exception of your family, will not see you as the person you were before you joined.”


As for the future, Simon is due to retire next year, whilst Tony hasn’t even given his retirement a thought yet.


One thing’s for sure though, the boys in blue are looking forward to their next patrol together.


For more information on joining the Royal Gibraltar Police, visit: