Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jun 2004
Source: Times Of Malta (Malta)
Copyright: 2004 Allied Newspapers Limited
Author: Cynthia Busutti


The mayor says the Marsascala police station is undermanned and often 
closed but the Commissioner of Police insists it is open all the time, 
except when the policeman is called on duty or is on patrol.

For the third year running the Marsascala local council has presented a 
petition to the nation's highest authorities, referring to the drug 
situation in the locality.

Presented to President Eddie Fenech Adami, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi 
and Archbishop Joseph Mercieca yesterday, the petition addressed the lack 
of continuous surveillance in the locality and the fact that the police 
station was not open all the time.

Contacted by The Times, mayor Charlot Mifsud said the locality has long 
been battling with a drug problem and a main reason for this was the lack 
of surveillance by the police in the area.

"The police station is not in a central area and apart from that there are 
no policemen assigned solely to the locality. This means we have to 
'borrow' policemen from the Zabbar station but this is not enough," he 

Mr Mifsud said the police station was closed most of the time. The mayor 
emphasised the need for the station to be properly manned on a 24-hour 
basis. "I do not need people supervising the central area only but the many 
secluded areas in the locality."

Mr Mifsud expressed concern at the discovery of syringes in the vicinity of 
the primary school as this presented a hazard to children. He said people 
who took care of the green areas in the locality were also concerned 
because of the syringes found in such places.

He said that one of the reasons for the drug problem could be the fact that 
young people did not have enough recreational areas where they could 
practise sports activities.

The mayor explained that because there was usually a concentration of young 
people in the locality it was easier for drug traffickers to do business.

Mr Mifsud said that on Saturday the council would be holding a symbolic 
walk to mark World No Drugs Day.

Police Commissioner John Rizzo however denied that a policeman is not 
present in the locality on a 24-hour basis. He said an officer is always 
present and the police station is open all the time, except when the 
policeman is called on duty or is patrolling the area. He stressed the 
importance that the policeman does the rounds and not remain in the station 
all the time.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Rizzo said that since the number of people going 
to the seaside resort increases in summer, the police also steps up their 
presence there. He said that as from last Monday an extra four policemen 
are present every evening between six and midnight. Two of them do foot 
patrols and the other two come either from the dog section or the mounted 

Apart from this, during weekends a traffic policeman is posted in the 
locality to direct traffic while a mobile police station is set up near the 
Waterline Restaurant. This, he said, happens not only in Marsascala but in 
all seaside areas where people congregate during summer evenings.

Mr Rizzo said patrols by the mobile squad and the divisional unit also took 
place in the area, as in all other localities.

With regard to complaints by the mayor that the police station is not 
located in the centre, Mr Rizzo said this was close to the school and the 
church. He was not in a position to buy a very expensive premises so that 
the station can be located closer to what the mayor thinks is the centre of 
the locality.

The Police Commissioner said the drug problem in Marsascala was not more 
acute than in any other locality, adding that this was under control as in 
any other locality. He called on the mayor or any other locals who know of 
areas where drug abuse is rife to inform the police so that the situation 
can be addressed.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager