By the end of next year, the Police Force should have a transformation strategy. In an extensive interview with the CEO of the Police Force, Mr Angelo Gafa, which was transmitted last night, he said that the drive to bring about improvements will be carried out with the help of the European Commission, which will also be providing funds.
He explained that this work is complemented by the new governance board which began working from the beginning of this year with the aim of formulating a strategy for the Police, something which he said the Force never had, despite attempts which were made in the past. The result is that the Police Force was working without a long-term vision.
With 2,400 members in the Force, Mr Gafà calculates that 17% of the members are not actually doing police work. There are only 100 officers who work as plainclothes police.
Mr Gafà said, “This year we plan to issue a call for support officers within the Force so that those members who are carrying out clerical work can also do police work.”
Apart from this, he said that they would continue to recruit university graduates to work with Police officers. He said that just like professionals are working as investigators into financial crime, other professionals in the field of IT will be recruited with the unit which fights cybercrime.
The main challenge is to make better use of police officers within the Force. While interpreting the fact that voting documents are distributed by police officers as a sign of confidence by the political parties in the Police, he asked whether this makes sense because it is whittling away at their resources. This also holds true for the presence of Police at football grounds or to close off streets with barricades.
With the money allocated for capital projects and equipment having increased six-fold in two years, this year the Government has voted a further 2.5 million Euro to the Police Force, for this purpose.
“I hope that by the end of this year, and at the latest the end of next year, the Police will be equipped with body cams. I hope the unions will be on board with this.”
He mentioned that during the testing phase, there was resistance shown by some members of the Force to try them out. He said that these bodycams will help so that any frivolous allegations will decrease because there will now be proof of the Police officers’ actions.
He said that consultation is underway so that for the first time, vehicles for the Rapid Intervention Unit will be purchased which are specially made for the Police, instead of having normal vehicles adapted into Police vehicles.
“For example, if you have someone full of blood in the back seat, if we use a family car as an RIU car, you will stain the seats and so on. The back seat also needs to be closed off for security reasons.”
He said that the Police Force administration welcomes and agrees with the seven recommendations made in the report by the Council of Europe by the GRECO committee. He said that these will be carried out within the 18-month deadline which has been given because many of them had already started being implemented. He mentioned the updating of the code of ethics for members of the Force, including the use of social media. There was also agreement with the recommendation to have a specific unit which leads the prosecution’s case in Court, with an officer assigned to each Magistrate. He said that this would give more time to inspectors so that they will be able to investigate the case in more depth.