The Malta Independent 28 September 2016, Wednesday

‘Are police responsible for the security of establishments? I would say no’ – Police Commissioner

Saturday, 23 January 2016, 10:41 Last update: about 9 months ago

Police Commissioner Michael Cassar, when discussing the PlusOne Club incident in Paceville, said that police are not responsible for the security of establishments, "however if they see a security problem they need to take action.

Commissioner Michael Cassar was being interviewed on Ghandi Xi Nghid, by Andrew Azzopardi.

Speaking about large events in general, the Commissioner stressed that when an incident like this occurs, its always the police who are blamed.

He said that after the PlusOne club incident, work is being done on licensing. "The police are there to keep public order".

He said that if a club or a shop, requests a license, every department must ensure that everything is in place and the police will take care of the keeping the peace.

The Commissioner said that the PlusOne inquiry results have not yet been published. 

The PaqPaqli incident inquiry has also not yet been released, he said. Permission for the event was not given by the police, he explained, as it is technically private property. The Police only hands out one-off permits, when, for example, an event is going to take place crossing a number of localities. If an event is being held in Mdina however, the local council would handle that permit. "If there is reason to object, we can draw attention however the final say lies with the local council".

The police were only at the Paqpaqli event for crowd control and traffic management, he said.

Commissioner Cassar stressed that the police play a major role in Paceville, he stressed, and said that the police are working on the idea of having health and safety officers from other departments in Paceville. He stressed that the number of officers stationed in Paceville has already risen.

Turning to the cases of Karen Grech and Raymond Caruana, the Commissioner said that he requested a brief on the issues, but cannot say that there have been any developments.

Anthony Carabott recently said that he wants to be investigated over the Raymond Caruana murder, in order to clear his name. The Commissioner said that he was spoken to on a number of occasions. "You are only taken to court if there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt".

The Gaffarena situation was also discussed. The police were at the Property Division this week in order to ensure the files were under lock and key, he said.

"If there were so many corruption allegations, shouldn't the Commissioner take the initiative to investigate?' Andrew Azzopardi asked. In response, the Commissioner said it would be presumptuous to assume there are better experts than the Auditor General in this field.

He said the IAID and the police have worked together in the past as they have the expertise and qualified people. We are conducting an exercise, so even if civilian professionals are engaged such as accountants or auditors, we will continue to add on to the compliment of the economic crimes unit.

Asked again whether, given the past corruption allegations, he felt the need to investigate, Commissioner Cassar said - "The police will now seek advice from the Attorney General on the matter, and we will move from there".

Turning to the cases of Karen Grech and Raymond Caruana, the Commissioner said that he requested a brief on the issues, but cannot say that there have been any developments.

Anthony Carabott recently said that he wants to be investigated over the Raymond Caruana murder, in order to clear his name. The Commissioner said that he was spoken to on a number of occasions. "You are only taken to court if there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt. It would be more unfair for someone to take him to court".

The discussion turned to the 12-year-old joyrider who made headlines this past week, whose four arresting officers are accused of causing him slight injury which resulted in Police Officers Union (POU) President Sandro Camilleri making strong statements on the issue. "Before we file a case in court, particularly if it involves police, we ensure a proper investigation takes place. Legally we take the evidence to the Attorney General and he guides us, by law, to move in a disciplinary manner or to file criminal proceedings".

Turning to the Valletta Summit and CHOGM, while no threat was made against Malta, the alarm caused made it harder for the Force, he said.


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