The Balearic Security Council met for the first time yesterday to discuss ways of fighting crime. The meeting, which was attended by National Police and Guardia Civil chiefs, Balearic leader Francesc Antich, Majorca and Ibiza Insular Council presidents, Maria Antonia Munar and Pilar Costa among others and chaired by the Balearic Interior Minister, Josep Maria Costa, missed one vital person, the central government delegate to the Balearics. Catalina Cirer sent a letter explaining that the Home Office in Madrid had not given her the necessary authorisation to attend the meeting. Madrid's decision marred the meeting, with Antich and Costa intent on lodging official complaints with the Spanish Home Secretary, Angel Acebes, stressing the importance of Cirer attending the meetings. Antich said that Cirer was part of the Balearic delegation which met the Home Secretary in September to discuss the setting up of the Balearic Security Council, “but for this new body, of which Acebes approved, to work, the central government delegate has to be involved,” he said. The Mayor of Palma, Joan Fageda's failure to attend also marred the security summit. Antich said that all institutions need to be involved in ensuring the maximum level of citizen safety and that the rise in crime over the past few years has been “alarming.” Soon, he will be calling special meetings on each of the Balearics islands to discuss individual security operations with the police forces. Antich said that the biggest problem is the large number of vacancies in the National Police and Guardia Civil, adding that the gaps have to be filled as quickly as possible, but that lies in the hands of Madrid. Antich's long term solution is to set up an autonomous Balearic police force.

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