In an attempt to crack down on escalating crime in the Balearics, the government yesterday announced that it has set up a Balearic General Public Security council, on which representatives from all public administrations have been invited to sit. Regional Interior Minister Josep Costa said that the new security council will be up and running within the next four weeks and that the Balearics has also made an official application to Madrid for more police and the creating of a central co-ordination centre. The knee-jerk action by the local government is in response to the latest national crime report which showed that crime is rising faster in the Balearics than any other region in Spain. Last year the crime rate rose by 38.6 per cent -the national average was just ten per cent. Local Police across Majorca have become increasingly complacent about the situation and the extra work being piled on their shoulders. Costa said that the Balearics is asking Madrid for more members of the National Police force and Guardia Civil - apart from the fact that the two forces in the Balearics have yet to fill between 15 and 30 per cent of vacancies, equivalent to 300 policemen and women, neither of the forces are large enough to cope with “real” population. Costa explained that policing the Balearics has been worked out on the needs of the permanent population and no account has been made for the millions of extra people who come to the region each year. The Minister would like to see the 112 emergency centre transformed into a Balearic security co-ordination centre which would enable all the emergency and security services to be more efficient. Costa said that the local government has no plans, for the time being, in creating an autonomous Balearic police force, he said such a move would not be the solution to the region's escalating crime “what we need to do is re-structure and expand our existing forces,” he said. The government has also asked Palma City Council to call its security council together and decide how it intends to deal with the crime wave and continual problems of prostitution along the Playa de Palma. Should the council fail to address the problem, Costa said that he is prepared to canvas local organisations in the area for their opinions on the current situation in the resort and what they would like to see both council and Local Police doing.

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