LOCAL ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM

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 LES SYSTEM OVERVIEW
  >> GENERAL OVERVIEW
 

 

Introduction

The Local Enforcement System scheme groups together up a number of participants including statutory bodies and private agencies.

Key Players

Local Enforcement can be divided into two main divisions:

• Regional Committees
• Local Councils
• Local Tribunals


Ministry of Justice and Local Councils

The Ministry for Justice and Local Councils is the Ministry to which the Central Government assigned, amongst other responsibilities, the implementation of the policy of Local Government. As a Ministry it established the general policies and objectives that provided the backbone of the system - a system the implementation of which safeguards the best interest of the public. Local Enforcement was launched in February 2000 in terms of Legal Notice 32 of 2000, following the enactment of the PRIVATE GUARDS AND LOCAL WARDENS ACT (CAP. 389) in 1996.

In terms of the LOCAL ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM COMMITTEE REGULATIONS (S.L. 291.06) "There shall be a Management Committee for the Local Enforcement System that shall be responsible to provide guidelines, the general policy and the local enforcement system function, and there shall also be a Stakeholders Committee that shall be responsible to give recommendations to the Management Committee." *Reg. 3 (1).

The Management Committee is composed of a Chairperson and four members who shall be appointed by the Minister (Reg.3 (2)).

The Stakeholders Committee is composed of representatives of Trade Unions, the electronic local enforcement system service provider, Authorized Officers, Local Warden Agencies, the Police and the five Regional Committees, which shall be chaired by the President of the Local Councils Association. (Reg. 3 (5))


Department of Local Councils

The Department of Local Councils is the central point of reference for Local Enforcement queries. It is also responsible for the development of policy options within the framework set by the Minister responsible for Local Councils.

The Department of Local Councils exercises a general administrative supervision over the activities of Local Councils and ensures that Local Councils have the legislative authority required to respond to local needs. It reviews and develops legislation, regulations, operating guidelines and policies.

The Department of Local Councils also has a customer-care branch. If offers a solution to any member from the general public who has any query about Local Enforcement. The Local Council's Help desk may be contacted on helpline.lc@gov.mt

Local Councils

Local Councils functional responsibilities are determined by the Local Councils Act which sets them up. They are generally responsible:
  • to provide and maintain proper road signs and road markings in conformity with national and      international standards,
  • to maintain parking areas,
  • to propose to, and where applicable be consulted by, any competent authority prior to the competent      authority making any changes in traffic schemes directly affecting the locality,
  • assist citizens by providing information relating to their rights,
  • advice any authority empowered to take any decisions which effect the residents it is responsible      for.

Local Councils may also enact Bye-Laws. These bye-laws are also enforced as part of the Local Enforcement System. However, they are only enforceable within the locality which falls under the jurisdiction of the Local Council which drew them up. As an example one can mention Advertisements on Street Furniture, Hamrun Local Council Bye-Laws and Skips Regulations, Birkirkara Local Councils. Local Councils have been delegated this power in order to suppress particular nuisances which may be characteristic to particular Local Councils.

Local Councils Association

The Local Councils Association was statutorily constituted in November 1994 by virtue of Legal Notice 153 of 1994. The role of the Local Councils Association is to protect and promote the common interests of all the Local Councils. It is the body that has been involved from the outset in the setting up of the Local Enforcement system. Apart from coordinating all the activities of the Local Councils it also coordinates ongoing discussions to improve the system.

Regional Committees

The Regional Committees responsibilities are determined by the Local Councils Act by virtue of Legal Notice 320 of 2011. They are generally responsible:


  • to provide for the proper upkeep and maintenance of street lighting in accordance with national and      international standards,
  • for the enforcement of laws delegated to the Committees and the provision of warden services for      all localities for which the Committee is responsible, including those functions as are necessary so      as to prosecute following enforcement,
  • to organise cultural activities that promote the locality in every possible way,
  • to protect the natural and urban environment of the locality and take all necessary measures to      ensure the more efficient use of energy, good waste management and climate change initiatives,
  • to enter into agreements with any public body or government department for the delegation to the      Committee of any of the functions of that public body or department: Provided that any such      delegation shall only come into effect after the Minister has made the relevant order in the Gazette,
  • to perform any other function which shall be delegated to it by the Government through the Minister      by means of an order published in the Gazette,
  • to provide for all such other works, things, matters and services which are not excluded from a      Council's competence by any law for the time being in force nor assigned to any other authority

Regional Committees and their Localities

A Joint Committee refers to a group of Local Councils who decide to get together and discharge their functions jointly. Each Joint Committee is composed of representatives from every Local Council that falls within the boundary of the particular Joint Committee The Authorised Officer acts as the secretary of the Joint Committee.

1. Regjun Centru (The Local Councils which make up this Region are Sliema, San Giljan, San Gwann,      Gzira, Ta' Xbiex, Attard, Balzan, Birkirkara, Iklin, Lija, Santa Venera, Msida and Pieta)

2. Regjun Tramuntana (The Local Councils which make up this Region are Gharghur, Mellieha, Mgarr,      Mosta, Naxxar, San Pawl il-Bahar, Pembroke, Swieqi, Mdina, Rabat, Dingli and Mtarfa)

3. Regjun Nofsinhar (The Local Councils which make up this Region are Ghaxaq, Gudja, Hamrun,      Qormi, Siggiewi, Zebbug, Santa Lucija, Birzebbuga, Kirkop, Luqa, Mqabba, Qrendi, Safi and Zurrieq)

4. Regjun Xlokk (The Local Councils which make up this Region are Fgura, Bormla, Isla, Birgu, Kalkara,      Xghajra, Marsascala, Zejtun, Marsaxlokk, Tarxien, Paola, Zabbar, Valletta, Floriana and Marsa)

5. Regjun Ghawdex (The Local Councils which make up this Region are Fontana, Ghajnsielem, Gharb,      Ghasri, Kercem, Munxar, Nadur, Qala, Rabat, San Lawrenz, Sannat and Xaghra)

Region Executive Secretary

The Executive Secretary is appointed by the Region Committee to administer the said Committee and act as a Financial Head. His/Her duties are:


  • issue all notices and prepare the agenda in consultation with the Chairman and attend all meetings,
  • draw up the minutes of meetings of the Committee, and if no Secretary is appointed for a Sub-     Committee in accordance with regulation 22(3), draw up also the minutes of that Sub-Committee,
  • submit a detailed annual administrative report to the Chairman,
  • cause to be submitted to the Committee and to the Director estimates of the income and expenditure      of the Committee during the next following financial year,
  • carry out any other duties that may be detailed or delegated to him by the Chairman or by the      Committee

Authorised Officer

The Authorised Officer is appointed by the Regional Committee to monitor the operation of Local Warden Services. He or she has the responsibility of preparing the schedule of all the Local Wardens who are on beat within all the localities of the concerned Regional Committees. He/she is expected to ascertain that the optimum level of enforcement is being delivered in the most cost-effective manner.

There is constant communication between the Authorised Officer and the Local Wardens Contracts Manager. Apart from discussing the behavior of the Local Warden on the field, the Authorised Officer also inspects the records of the Warden Contractors in relation to all work being carried out in the provision of the Local Warden services.

The Prosecutor

The Prosecutor is a person who is appointed by the Regional Committees to prosecute on their behalf against those offenders who have been accused of having committed a contravention within the boundaries of that particular Regional Committee.

The Prosecutor prosecutes all the offences that are brought before the Local Tribunal. He or she prepares each case and makes sure that he or she has all the necessary evidence at hand. All prosecutions are carried out with fairness and all the people who are summoned to appear before the Local Tribunal are given equal treatment.

The Prosecutor may also lodge an appeal before the Court of Magistrates as a Court of Appeal in those instances where the Prosecutor is dissatisfied with the Tribunal judgment.

Enforcement Officers

Before the introduction of Local Enforcement, enforcement fell exclusively within the competence of the Malta Police Force. However, Local Enforcement saw the introduction of other Enforcement Officers - the Local Wardens through the Warden Agencies.

The logic behind this increase in the number of Enforcement Officers is to ensure that every district in Malta is constantly being patrolled by these Officers.

Service Providers

There are three service providers involved in the management of the Local Enforcement System:
1. Warden Agencies (Guard & Warden, Sterling Security and Aurelia Asset Protection Ltd.)
2. Datatrak IT Services Ltd
3. Licencing and Testing Department

The Warden Agencies ensure that all Local Wardens are properly trained before they are made available on the field. The Warden Agencies manage the allocation of wardens for the contracted services. They receive the scheduled route from the Authorised Officer and makes sure to assign wardens to the scheduled shift.

Datatrak IT Services Ltd is the service provider which provides the service and support requirements of the LES system. It is the body responsible for the overall operation of the LES system and provides the technical infrastructure and support to sustain the process management.

The Licensing and Testing Department has a crucial role in local enforcement. It ensures that no road licence is renewed if there are any outstanding payments in respect of fines and penalties awarded by the Local Tribunal. The Licencing and Testing Department is notified immediately upon delivery of a 'guilty' judgment and a restriction is attached to the registration number of the vehicle involved in the contravention at hand. The owner of the vehicle cannot have his road licence renewed unless he has previously paid amount due in settlement of a fine or penalty awarded by the Local Tribunal.

Local Tribunals

The Local Tribunal is an extension of the Courts of Law. It is that building where the Commissioner for Justice holds the sittings to consider any charge brought before him in terms of the Commissioners for Justice Act.

The Local Tribunal was set up to ensure that the fundamental right to a fair hearing is given to every person who has been booked for a contravention. For this reason the Local Tribunal has been entrusted with a specialized competence - it adjudicates only in respect of delegated contraventions. Furthermore appointment of cases takes place within a relatively short period and there are no lengthy proceedings involved. The cases are dealt with summarily.

In all there are eight Local Tribunals. There is at least a Local Tribunal for every Regional Committee. Therefore all the cases in respect of contraventions which have been committed within the boundaries of a particular Regional Committee will be brought before the Local Tribunal of that group of localities.

Commissioners for Justice

The role of the Commissioner for Justice is to consider and deliver judgment on every charge that is brought before him for hearing. He or she hears any statements that both the offender and the prosecuting party might wish to make. He or she also hears any witnesses that either party might have brought. After also taking into consideration any documentary evidence, He or she will proceed to deliver the judgment.

The Tribunal Clerk

The Tribunal Clerk is the person chosen to act as a deputy registrar of the Local Tribunal. The person appointed to this position is responsible to take down in writing all the instructions handed down by the Commissioner for Justice. He or she is also responsible to note down the judgment as delivered by the Commissioner for Justice in respect of every case brought before the Tribunal.



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