Muscat says Safe City technology a priority, will be used in willing localities

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that besides cleanliness across all localities, technology to help better the lives of Maltese citizens was a priority, including surveillance project Safe City

Joseph Muscat at a political event in Gzira
Joseph Muscat at a political event in Gzira

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Safe City surveillance will be one of the priorities of elected Labour candidates in localities across the country.

He emphasized however that Safe City technologies will only be used by those localities that wish to do so and that this technology does not interfere with personal data or private and sensitive information.

Muscat was speaking at a political event on Monday evening in Gzira.

He said that the local council manifesto, launched today, places safety in all localities—and he mentioned Hamrun and Marsa as particular examples—as a priority.

"People in localities like Marsa or Hamrun which see a significant amount of antisocial behaviour can be alleviated by this pilot project proposal. This is where local councils can be at the forefront, more important than central government in this matter, where surveillance acts as a strong deterrent," Muscat said, adding that the government was keeping in constant contact with various mayors who were bringing forward several issues such as nocturnal noise pollution, vandalism and antisocial behaviour.

"If there's a mugging, or a hit-and-run like we've seen some time ago, and there are no cameras in the vicinity, we cannot find solutions," Muscat said.

A drive-by shooting in Birzebbugia which resulted in the death of migrant worker Lassine Souleyman has remained unsolved with the perpetrators still at large.

Technology plays a significant role in Labour's local council manifesto as Muscat spoke of parking sensors and underground parking solutions.

The manifesto, Muscat said, was based on seven main pillars: the environment, alternative transport, modern infrastructure, security, a society that cares, active communities and culture.

READ MORE: Cleanliness and quality of life among the main priorities in Labour's local councils manifesto

"We are also proposing public-private partnerships in terms of underground parking," Muscat said. "This will probably make use of an app on your phone but our vision is that of a digital sensor that tells you before you enter whether there are any free spaces in a particular underground car park."

He added that these were small details and proposals that would improve the quality of life for many.

Local councils, Muscat insisted, had a role to play in terms of alternative transport and said that in the near future when petrol and diesel-powered cars would no longer be imported in the country, local councils might help central government designate those areas in need of charging points.

Muscat promised that Labour candidates would push for switch to electric cars.