Skinny dipping and all that jazz - The Malta Independent,
19 August 2010
Recent cases of language students having been taken to court after
they were caught skinny dipping have left many people incredulous, while
others commended the police for doing something to keep rowdy students
One of the police inspectors who prosecuted in the skinny dipping
cases said the police are facing huge problems with students getting
drunk and acting like fools, and said he thinks the beach should be
closed at night.
That seems to imply that the police are indirectly admitting they
have lost control over the Paceville/St George’s Bay areas, but is this
because of a lack of resources? And what about other beaches in the
area, such as the rocky beach close to the Westin Dragonara Resort?
Students swimming naked in St George’s Bay is certainly not the main
problem that the police have to deal with on a daily basis in the
Paceville area in the summer.
The very fact that they were skinny dipping in a crowded St George’s
Bay goes to show how drunk they were, but it is certainly not just
language students that get drunk and wreak havoc in Paceville.
Before the summer even started, St Julian’s mayor Peter Bonello spoke
about the multi-faceted problems in the area.
Residents have to bear the brunt of excessive noise, young people
acting silly and having sex in public – sometimes even on residents’
doorsteps – not to mention the problem of vandalism.
As Mr Bonello had said, more police on patrol would help. He had said
he would be asking for more police officers to patrol the area during
the busy summer months, in a bid to control what he referred to as some
people’s savage behaviour. Might the police need to rope in local
wardens to help them with patrols?
As much as it is easier said than done, the police, in collaboration
with the St Julian’s Local Council, should be doing much more in terms
of prevention. Police officers on patrol are often themselves a
The police also need to be much bolder in their approach. Hearing
police officers say that some students and young people are simply
uncontrollable is unacceptable. The public expects much more than ‘boy
scout’ behaviour from the police corps.
Without any doubt, however, taking six students to court is not going
to solve the ‘huge problems’ that the police are facing in dealing with
the Paceville area.
A suspended sentence and a €100 fine given to a few language students
won’t really prevent others from acting indecently in public.
Having sex in public is just as bad, if not worse, than skinny
dipping, but rarely do the police prosecute young people caught having
sex on people’s parapets. Vomiting all over people’s private property,
urinating and defecating on doorsteps, jumping up and down on cars,
screaming and singing... these are all other issues which are causing
much more offence (and nuisance) than a few kids stripping down and
running into the sea.
The police seem to have been focusing too much on St George’s Bay
(and calling for it to be closed at night) and not on other areas.
Police presence in Paceville is often limited to the ‘main square’,
opposite Burger King.
Police patrols and law enforcement are crucial, but the laws are
there for everyone to follow, not just language students. But to charge
youngsters with swimming in the nude seems a bit over the top when there
are others who are causing criminal damage to houses and cars up the
road. A slap on the wrist and a 20-minute stint in the St Julian’s cells
for particulars to be taken would have sufficed (and put the fear of God