High level talks were held in Palma yesterday as part of the continuing war on rising crime in the Balearics. Balearic Interior Minister, Josep Maria Costa and central government delegate to the Balearics, Catalina Cirer, spent most of the morning discussing various solutions, but emerging from the meeting, Costa said that he had put forward a proposal that all of the emergency and security forces be brought together under the 112 emergency number system to maximise co-ordination and human resources. Costa said that talks were positive and that all parties involved a moving in the right direction, although there still remains the question over how central government intends to fill the gap made by 300 vacancies in the National Police and Guardia Civil forces. Costa wants to see the number of police increase in 2003 and in 2004 while localising security efforts in the key tourist resorts. Costa has suggested that local resort security councils be set up, involving all the police and emergency services as well as local institutions. Local security councils will be able to decide best which are the priorities and therefore how the local police forces can be used to their maximum efficiency. Costa stressed the need for the sharp rise in crime over the past 18 months to be reduced and in order to do so, he maintains that the Balearics needs to adopt the model already used in Valencia and the Canaries, where all the security forces are co-ordinated by a single control centre. But he made clear to Cirer and central government, that the war on crime will fail unless more police are recruited and drafted into the Balearics as soon as possible.
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