The Malta Independent 8 May 2021, Saturday

Police Commissioner refuses to comment on possible resignation

Julian Bonnici Thursday, 19 October 2017, 14:30 Last update: about 5 years ago

Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar has ignored questions on whether he intends to resign from his post following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Cutajar also revealed, in comments to this newspaper, that investigations on the case of police sergeant Ramon Mifsud, who caused a storm after he celebrated the journalist’s death, are ongoing.

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Asked if action would be taken against other police officers who had ‘liked’ Mifsud’s post, Cutajar replied that “investigations by the Internal Affairs Unit are ongoing.”

Five car bombings have taken place during Cutajar's tenure as Police Commissioner. Six cases have taken place since the start of 2016, with seemingly little to no progress being made in spite of there being two surviving victims. When asked whether this merited his resignation, Cutajar dismissively replied that “all cases under reference are still being investigated.”

The newsroom sought to clarify these statements by expressly asking whether he would resign, and the reason behind his decision. However, a reply was not forthcoming. 

Following a car bombing on Marina Street in Msida last February, in which Romeo Bone lost his legs, the government seemed intent on finding answers, with former Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela saying he was "angered and shocked” by the frequency of the attacks. An urgent cabinet meeting was then held after PM Joseph Muscat revealed he had been driven through the area only 15 minutes earlier.

A general election shifted the public's focus elsewhere, but with the death of a popular yet controversial journalist the population has once against raised serious doubts over the competency of Cutajar, which critics claim has negatively impacted the entire police force.

The absence of a police press conference more than 48 hours after the horrific murder has only created further distrust amongst the public.

The fact that foreign experts have been brought in to investigate the latest murder also highlights the lack of faith in the institution, the critics say.

Cutajar responded to these claim with a one-word reply; ‘No.'

As at 3pm Thursday, over 5,478 had signed the online petition addressed to  Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia on Change.org. asking for Cutajar to step down. The petition reads: “As a nation, we do not feel safe in a country where the Police Commissioner does not speak up, does not take any form of respectful action in such desperate times!

He did not take action, after the disrespectful and shameful public behaviour of some members of the police force after such a brutal assassination of a journalist! But instead he just suspended one of them thinking this would shut us all up. Well he didn't.

We will not stop fighting until we have an independent and impartial Police Commissioner. When Lawrence Cutajar gives back his badge, that is when trust and safety will be restored in our police force, and in Malta.”

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia was also sent question on the possibility of Cutajar’s resignation, but the newsroom did not receive a reply.

 

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