The Malta Independent 8 December 2022, Thursday
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Authorities ‘identify various hot-spots’ for organised crime, action to be taken shortly

Helena Grech Monday, 25 September 2017, 14:43 Last update: about 6 years ago

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia revealed that the authorities have identified various “hot-spots” for organised crime across Malta and Gozo, and will be taking action shortly.

He stressed that recent police raids in Marsa have led to the arrest of both Maltese and foreign nationals carrying out illegal activities.

Farrugia was addressing members of the press to outline a large number of activities being carried out by the Home Affairs Ministry as part of its pre-electoral pledge.

Among the measures mentioned, of most interest were proposed changes within Corradino Correctional Facility.

“An evaluation is being carried out of the situation within prison, from the perspective of both prisoners and staff”.

Farrugia stressed that he would like more prisoners to exit from Corradino Correctional Facility with qualifications in hand, so that they may re-enter society with less obstacles in place.

He said that the pittance paid to prisoners who carry out work while serving their sentence is unacceptable, and that he would like to see a more humane wage, being paid to prisoners through a bank-account, made accessible to them when released from prison.

Onto the issue of drugs, which are heavily prevalent from inside the prison, Farrugia spoke of ongoing training for prison warders so that they may not just enforce laws, but help in the rehabilitation process.

“We want prison staff to be part of rehabilitation and not part of the problem through certain friendships between staff and inmates. The most important thing is the training of prison staff before they begin their duties. In the academy, just 18 months ago training has been set up for these purposes.”

Onto the role of the Director of Corradino, where in the past he would individually have to address a wide array of issues, Farrugia spoke of the setting up of a board of governors. The board would be tasked with tackling such issues, whereas the role of Director would be more akin to a CEO, whose job is to see that policy set up to tackle such issues are being implemented correctly.

The minister said he is against strip searches of those entering prisons, and that the ministry is seeking to introduce body scanners in order to stop this undignified practice.

Police

An effort is being made to reverse the trend where there are more police officers exiting the force than entering.

Farrugia spoke of positive results from increased police presence in Paceville, and said other “hot-spots” will receive the same treatment.

AFM

A tender is to be issued for a new vessel with the intention of this vessel assisting Frontex, and EU border watch agency.

Onto detention centres for those coming to Malta illegally, or those who have stayed past their legally allowed time frame, measures are being taken to improve the quality of such facilities.

Discussions are taking place with NGOs and staff from open centres so as not to put everybody in the same place, and inadvertently create ghettos.

Farrugia said right not most irregular migrants coming to Malta are doing so for economic reasons. He said that economic migrants will only be accepted who come through legal channels.

He spoke of assistance being given to open centres in the North of Affrica, through the help of the UN refugee wing and the International Maritime Organisation, to “ensure that those wanting to migrate to Europe are doing so for genuine reasons”.

Safety and Security

Farrugia made reference to the Grenfel disaster in the UK where 80 people lost their lives after a fire broke out in the high-rise building. It had transpired that the building’s cladding was substandard, which led to the fire spreading so rapidly.

Farrugia said the Civil Protection Department has embarked on an assessment programme to ensure that no tall buildings in Malta are facing similar issues. The minister is informed that the assessment found no shortcomings. Power levers are also to be purchased so that in the case of any accidents, authorities will have the tools to reach people in high areas as quickly as possible.

 

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