By Humphrey Carter

PICTURES: A. SEPULVEDA
THE security forces yesterday stepped up their controls as a virtual lock down was ordered ahead of this week's two day informal meeting of European Union Defence Ministers in Palma.

The Bulletin reported on Saturday that extra members of the national Police and the Guardia Civil were being deployed to the island over the weekend to help in increased security on the island and yesterday, the security operation was in full flow on the ground, at sea and in the air.

The security services are also using the operation to crackdown on crime.
A few days ago, for example, a handful of people wanted by the police were arrested in Muro and Can Picarfort after being caught in a road side control.

On Sunday, police controls and patrols were being carried out in the more rural areas of the island but yesterday, there were a series of national Police road checks thrown around the capital with heavily armed police taking up positions at key strategic locations around the city.

In Calvia, the Local Police are assisting with the stop checks which will continue until Friday and drivers are being asked to be patient if stopped.
The summit is being held at the Sol Melia Hotel Victoria on Palma's sea front but the ring of steel has been installed around the entire island.
The summit is being held tomorrow and Thursday but many of the delegates are expected to be flying into the island today and police sources said yesterday that the operation will be stepped up even further from this morning with the emphasis being on ports and airports.

SECURITY SOURCES “We want to know everyone coming in and going out,” the security source said.
Britain's Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP, is not due to be attending however, the Bulletin has learnt that British government is sending a strong delegation which is being led by Baroness Ann Taylor, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support.

The agenda for the two-day summit is understood to be very broad ranging from improving international aid operations using the lessons which are being learnt in Haiti, to European counter terrorism policies and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

The French are also hoping that a deal with European defense contractor EADS to resolve a financial dispute over the Airbus A400M military transport plane can be finally reached in Palma.

French Defense Ministry spokesman Laurent Teisseire says France hopes a general deal will emerge on the sidelines of the European Union defense ministers' meeting.

Governments had earlier made proposals to EADS, and Teisseire says that France had received responses from EADS “that go in a favorable direction.” EADS and the governments that ordered the four-propeller plane have been haggling over who will pay for billions in cost overruns and technical problems that have put the program almost four years behind schedule.