Staff Reporter
THE Balearic Minister for the Interior, José María Rodríguez, made a proposal yesterday to the mayors of Majorca, that with the aid of a 75 percent government grant, 100 new English speaking local police officers be contracted to act specifically as “tourist police”, for a maximum of 9 months of the year. The proposal was one of the key agenda items of the meeting that Rodríguez held yesterday morning with “nearly all” the island's council leaders. He explained that the process of selection and training of this specialised police unit would cost in the region of six million euros a year. Rodríguez, mindful of the fact that the concept of a “tourist police” unit was an electoral promise of the now-ruling Partido Popular, indicated that the development of this initiative will depend on the individual needs and budgetary allocation of the different town councils. He went on to confirm that the object of the project is to incorporate 100 officers a year over a period of four years and that these recruits gradually occupy vacant places in the police force all over the Balearics. The plan is that the selection process should start at the beginning of the coming month. New recruits can commence their training in January of 2004 and then start work in May. The Minister, who will put the same proposal to the governing bodies of the Pitiusas and Minorca in the next few days, emphasized that the “tourist” officers must be able to express themselves in Castillian, Catalan and English and stressed that their work will be chiefly preventative, although they should possess the same attributes as any other local police officer. The move has been welcomed by the tourist industry.

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