The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has announced plans to step up operations against drug trafficking and the illegal sale of liquor. These include escalated checks on vessels entering and departing from Malé, coupled with continuous patrolling of Hulhumalé harbour. The plan was formulated during a high-level meeting chaired by Commissioner of Police Ali Shujau, involving senior officers from the Central Policing Command, Operations Support Command, and Drug Enforcement departments.

A pivotal decision from the meeting was the implementation of 24-hour surveillance of the Hulhumalé harbour area, a docking point for numerous safari vessels. The Marine Police and Drug Enforcement Department will jointly execute this operation.

In addition to harbour patrols, the police will intensify checks of baggage and other items offloaded from docking boats on the islands. Surveillance of vessels docked on the islands will be heightened, with a recent decision to increase vigilance on supplies transported into the islands, according to MPS.

The MPS has further decided to bolster traffic operations in Malé City. This includes augmenting the number of patrol officers and vehicles, particularly in high-traffic areas such as schools, hospitals, and other public gathering points during peak hours.

Traffic congestion, a significant concern for Malé City residents, has been amplified by a sharp increase in vehicles in the Malé region. While the previous administration had initiated measures to expand parking areas for two-wheelers and the Malé City Council has been leasing private parking for four-wheelers, the current administration has also embarked on efforts to address the issue of traffic congestion. Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Ameen recently announced plans to ease traffic congestion.

According to the police, the new measures to fortify efforts against drug trafficking will commence on 7 January. The MPS’s decisions have elicited mixed reactions from the public, with some expressing scepticism about the sustainability of these operations. Others have questioned the wisdom of announcing the anti-drug operations in advance, arguing that it could potentially alert drug traffickers to conceal their operations more effectively.