WATCH: How a new Police Commissioner will be appointed – the Prime Minister
During a media conference, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced a transparent method of basic principles regarding the proposals made by the Venice Commission concerning the appointment of a new Police Commissioner which currently is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister.
PM Robert Abela said a public call for applications will be made by the Public Service Commission, and as recommended by the Venice Commission. The call will also be open to persons who may not be in the Police Corps. The Public Services Commission is a Constituted Authority which includes the representatives of both parties, two recommended by the PM, two recommended by the Leader of the Opposition and a Chairperson agreed by both sides. He explained the Commission will then select two persons that in its opinion have the most valid and suitable qualifications to serve as a Commissioner. At this stage the PM will choose the best candidate to serve as Police Commissioner. Following this, the chosen person will appear before the Parliamentary Committee for Public Appointments and the Opposition will be able to make its own questions.
Dr Abela explained that through this procedure he is renouncing the proposal made by the Venice Commission that a PM should have the right of veto on the selection of the person chosen. He stated he would not feel comfortable going against the selection process which in this case would be chosen by the Public Service Commission.
He said he is taking this step because he does not want to create a situation in which the Commission will forward the chosen candidate and this will clash with his decision. This will create a more onerous situation while being a revolutionary measure and means it is even more stringent than that proposed by the Venice Commission.
Dr Abela that therefore at the final stage the chosen person will be scrutinised by the Parliamentary Commission for Public Appointments composed of both Government and Opposition members.
He said in this manner the PM’s choice would not be final but the final candidate will be grilled and scrutinised by the Opposition which will be given the right to make all the questions it desires, following which there will be a Parliamentary vote.
PM Abela said he is giving his word the person chosen will be a serious person and will be able to carry out his work without interference.
The Police Corps is currently under the charge of an Acting Commissioner after last week’s resignation of the Commissioner for Police, Laurence Cutajar.
In its reaction, the Opposition said the Prime Minister will be making the choice of a new Commissioner alone. In a statement signed by the Opposition Leader, Adrian Delia and six other Opposition MPs said the PM has chosen and confirmed there will not be a national consensus on the choice of a new Commissioner. The statement added that according to the PM’s proposal, Parliamentary scrutiny will be carried out by a committee on which the Government has a majority and this therefore means the final decision is that of the PM.
The Nationalist Party said the PM and the Government has not understood the urgent need that the Police Corps needs to regain the confidence of the people and for this in order to happen there has to be agreement on the choice of a new Police Commissioner.