Local police in Manacor. | GUILLEM MAS

The president of the Felib federation of town halls, Antoni Salas, is to meet the government's director general of emergencies, Jaume Barceló, and discuss possible ways of augmenting local police forces in Majorca's smaller municipalities.

In one instance, Estellencs, it would be a case of establishing a police force. The mayor, Tomeu Jover, says that there haven't been any officers for four or five years. The town hall can engage an officer in the winter, but the problems come in summer "when we really need" police. Better pay is on offer in other municipalities. The town hall has to contract officers from elsewhere when it has specific needs.

Recruitment by the island's town halls, whether small or large, has been hampered by the so-called Montoro Law. Named after the former national finance minister, the law was introduced in order to bring about budgetary stability during the financial crisis. Town halls' hiring has been severely limited ever since the law came into force. In addition, there are issues because officers are coming up for retirement and not being replaced.

In Petra there have been no officers for a month. There should be three. Mayor Salvador Femenias explains that the town hall has been arranging the appointment of a temporary police officer, who is expected to be in place at the start of October. "We have a very serious problem that needs fixing."

Mancor de la Vall is in a similar situation. The mayor, Guillem Villalonga, says that there was one officer but he left because there was an opening in Palma, where the pay is higher. As with Petra, Mancor expects that an officer will start work next month.