Number of licensed security guards in bars: 37

Only 37 licensed security guards work in Malta’s bars and clubs.

Only 37 licensed security guards work in Malta’s bars and clubs.

Just 37 security guards have been licensed to work in the hundreds of bars and nightclubs across the islands since new legislation came into force last June.

The legislation, drafted after several high-profile reports of beatings by so-called ‘bouncers’ over the years, was revised and postponed before eventually coming into force.

Since June 30, security guards working in bars and nightclubs have had to possess a new Private Guard at a Place of Entertainment licence issued by the Police Commissioner. This provision was included in the 2010 amendments to the Private Guards and Local Wardens Act.

Security guards were originally given till October 1, 2011 to obtain the new licence. This was extended to January 31, 2012 and then to June 30, 2012.

Requirements for applicants to be granted the licence were watered down in this period.

The Sunday Times reported on July 29 that the Police Commissioner had received 28 applications for the new licences – enough to cover a handful of Paceville bars on a Saturday night.

All these licences were approved and issued, the police said at the time.

The police told this newspaper early last month that just nine more licences have been issued following the publication of the article last July.

Since receiving this information, The Sunday Times has been asking the Home Affairs Ministry to comment on these figures.

The ministry, which oversaw this legislation, has so far failed to acknowledge several e-mails over the past month.

Back in August, a ministry spokesman said the process for issuing the new licences was “adequate”.

He said this was because only applications received upto April 30 had been approved by that point and more were being processed.

This contradicted the police’s claim that all applications had been approved.

According to the legislation, the Police Commissioner can also require licence applicants to attend a specialised training course.

Asked how many applicants had been sent on such a course by the Commissioner, the police said last month: “Courses are independent of the police force. These are given by private agencies licensed by the Home Affairs Ministry.”

The amendments also introduced Specialised Private Guard licences for security personnel working outside the entertainment industry.

From June 30 to December 4, 317 of these licences have been issued – 179 for driving and 138 for non-driving jobs.

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