Joan Collins
THE Palma city council has released an advance copy of police statistics for 2005 with regard to accidents and road safety, black spots, applications for road improvement, alcohol testing and traffic fines. The figures for October, November and December have yet to be finalised.
However, with regard to traffic fines, the statistics released indicate that the average number of monthly fines has dropped by almost 50 percent in comparison with 2004. In fact, in 2005, 7'357 was the average number of fines imposed per month for a number of different traffic offences, while in 2004 the monthly average was 14'283. As has been the case for many years, the majority of fines for traffic offences were imposed for illegal parking or speeding.
The deputy mayor of the council's town safety department, Alvaro Gijon of the Partido Popular (PP), gave his first reaction to these figures and said that the fall in fines was due, in great measure, to the “pens down” strikes conducted by a significant number of local police officers. These took place from time to time in 2005, mainly at the beginning of the year.
The stoppages were due to their disagreement with the results of negotiations between the unions and the council for a new working agreement.
However, this was finally signed and sealed last May.
Gijon said that, nevertheless, his department was confident that the last quarter of 2005 will show a recovery in the level of fines imposed to that of previous years. At the same time he said that the collection of fines isn't necessarily a priority aim for the council. “Our first objective is to improve road safety and make sure citizens comply with the current laws” he said.
He did, however, recognise that the drop in fines had affected, if only partially, the expected income of the Palma council and was factored into their budgets. Lastly, he said that he was confident that this year the number of fines imposed would return to the level of previous years.

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