by Staff Reporter
A total of 480 officers will join the Local Police forces in the Balearics from April 2005. They will comprise 330 regular officers and 150 Tourist Police.

Of the regular officers, 255 will be stationed in Majorca, 40 in Minorca and 35 in Ibiza and Formentera. The Tourist Police will be posted in accordance with requests from the resorts.

This will be welcome news to the tourist resorts, which have been clamouring for greater security and a tougher stance on crime.
José María Rodríguez, the Balearic minister of the Interior, said yesterday that the government had announced 609 vacancies (330 regular officers and 279 tourist police) between December 2003 and October 2004, and 129 of these officers have been on duty since last May.

The training course for the 330 regular Local Police officers will start in September. It has been increased to a total of 800 hours of classes, which will be spread over five months.

NINE MONTHS
Rodríguez also announced that the tour of duty of the tourist police, who speak English and German as well as Spanish and Catalan, has been extended from six to nine months.

Three quarters of the cost of the tourist police is paid for by the Balearic government and 25 percent by the municipalities where they are based.
Rodriguez said that the announcement of the 330 vacancies for the police course which will start in September has been “a complete success.” He added that “the large number of requests received to accede to one of these places will let us choose and rely on the best police officers.” He said that the new posts would give people “greater security, more services, bring the police closer to the man in the street and provide society with the preventive vigilance it has been demanding.” He criticised the 40 percent shortage of National Police and Guardia Civil officers (who depend on the central government) in the Balearics, and said that this situation would not arise if the Statutes had allowed the creation of an autonomous police force.

He added that he would be “delighted” if the Balearic government were eventually to have the power to set up its own police force.
He stressed that no other Balearic government had made such a great effort to improve citizen security as that of Jaume Matas.
Rodriguez also criticised the central government over the recent inter-island air fare debacle. He said it was “incongruous” to announce an increase in the travel discount for residents, but at the same time permit an increase in the fares on inter-island flights.

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