The central Government's representative, Ramon Socias, has told the Ministry of the Interior that more police officers are needed in the Balearics. The reasons given, amongst others, are the growth in population over the last few years and the problems which come with being islands. Socias said this yesterday in a speech to welcome 48 trainees at the Police Academy who will be completing their course with a ten month practical training period at the National Police Station in Palma. These are future police officers who will form part of the contingent destined for the Balearics, which will be completed with 19 officers going to Ibiza, 15 to Manacor, 15 to Mahon and 15 to Ciudadela. Socias pointed out that 28 of the new officers present originated from Majorca and he predicted that a good many of the police officers now in training will ask to be stationed on the island when they complete their training. He said that with these new police officers, the second group of 2005 to finish training at the Academy in Avila, the National Police Force in the Balearics technically reaches the 1'326 posts provided for in the Police Plan 2000. He said that this technical figure does not correspond to the effective presence of 1'326 officers on the beat because there are around 50 posts, mostly senior officers, who are doing work in other places. He praised the great effort made in the last few years to fill vacancies but said that the community would require a further increase in numbers for the Police Force and also for the Guardia Civil. With regard to this he said that the Ministry is producing a new index for the forces and his department had informed them that the rise in the Balearic population in recent years and the operative difficulties of being islands meant that a rise in the number of police officers sent to the Balearics is essential. Another argument put forward by his department for the increase is the fight against money laundering. Many people pursuing this illegal activity launder their money by buying and selling property. He added that it was also necessary to increase the number of Guardia Civil officers in order to control the ports, under the law which came into force last summer and which is more restrictive than the previous one. However, he refused to put a figure on the number of officers required. In his speech, Socias emphasised to the new officers the importance of being sensitive to the bilingual community and reminded them that citizens had the right to address them in Catalan as well as Spanish.
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