Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri today outlined the measures introduced in the Budget 2022 document focusing on rehabilitation and national security.
Addressing the media on the proposals in Budget 2022, Camilleri said that “this is a budget which addresses the problems of today while laying a solid foundation for the future.”
As a dig towards the opposition, he also stated that when compared to 10 years ago, the Labour government is spending six times more than the last Nationalist government’s budget.
“Throughout the past few months, many changes were made especially in the Malta Police Force. The first being the national strategy for the Malta police force, this has resulted in an increase in trust rating towards the police force through proper investment in areas such as body cams, specialised vehicles among others.”
Camilleri also talked about the success the project of community policing is. Till now 22 localities are currently benefitting from community policing and Camilleri revealed that till the end of the year this number would increase to 43 localities including all of Gozo.
“A new look for police officers is also becoming a reality in the coming year in order to change the perception of approaching a police officer. Better communication and being present in the community is a vital pillar the police force works towards.”
Apart from aesthetic changes, Camilleri also discussed the introduction of specific units such as the domestic violence unit.
The Ministry is not only concerned with the Malta Police Force but all disciplined forces in Malta. Investments and collective agreements signed with the Civil Protection Department and the Armed Forces of Malta are just the tip of the iceberg, he said.
While the investment in the Civil Protection Department will be of €8.5 million, better work conditions and investment in new equipment was achieved.
“The AFM and their workers are for the first time benefitting from greater working conditions and working rights after a collective agreement was signed. This is what they deserve for putting their life on the line.”
With regards to irregular immigration, Camilleri talked about the agreement the government signed with Libya in order to “prevent human trafficking and also the useless deaths of hundreds of people in the Mediterranean.”
Camilleri also said that Malta is returning immigrants who do not apply for asylum to their country of origin while sharing immigrants who apply for asylum with other European Union countries.
“We are also planning to close the open centre in Marsa in the coming months and the land would be given back to the Marsa people.”
When it comes to crime and rehabilitation, Camilleri said that he wants to build on what was achieved. “Throughout the last year we introduced a new agency for victims of crime and around 300 people have already benefitted from this.”
“We are going to build on this by introducing electronic monitoring which will be passed in parliament shortly and also low security prison within prison walls which would include a rehabilitation centre which can help around 140 prisoners.”
Camilleri then stated that we only know how important our security is when we lose it. “Statistics show that Malta is one off the safest countries in Europe. We have to continue striving for success and providing the necessary resources to the relevant authorities to keep this standard.”