Minister takes dig at ‘dissident voices’ after crime rate drop

Law to criminalise synthetic drugs in the pipeline, Michael Farrugia says

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia
Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia

Crime reports have decreased despite what the “dissident voices” keep saying, Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said on Friday.

This, he added, was achieved against the backdrop of a growing population and increased tourist flows.

Farrugia was quoting statistics from a review of crime reports carried out by CrimeMalta for 2017 to take a dig at those he described as “dissident voices whose intention is to scare people”.

The figures show that there were 162 fewer crimes in 2017 when compared to 2016, a decrease of 0.9%.

He was speaking at a press conference held in Spinola Gardens, where he gave an overview of the budget measures aimed at the forces of law and order.

Farrugia said that despite the drop in crime, changes had to be introduced to enable the police to carry out their job well.

He said a new forensic lab will be built and housed in an entirely new building. "This is now more important than ever because a strong forensic basis is crucial for bringing criminals to justice."

Farrugia said the Corradino Correctional Facility in Paola will also undergo extensive refurbishment.

Synthetic drugs

The Home Affairs Minister said that changes to drug laws will be made to plug existing gaps such as the rise of synthetic drugs.

Synthetic drugs are not illegal unless listed in the law but the ever-changing nature of these substances often leaves the police unable to prosecute.

"Synthetic drugs, which are changing all the time, and which could prove more dangerous than more traditional substances, could be trafficked and pushed without consequence unless they are identified and listed. We are working on legislation that will make sure that instant criminalisation takes place in this regard,” Farrugia said.