The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Standard Operating Procedures for domestic violence cases to be launched

Helena Grech Thursday, 2 November 2017, 15:31 Last update: about 7 years ago

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia revealed that Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be launched within the police force, especially when receiving complaints or information about domestic violence.

Farrugia was speaking at a press conference where he gave a rundown of the upcoming investment focus areas within the disciplined forces of Malta, such as the police, the armed forces and the civil protection department

On Monday, Nathalie Williams was found to have been kept in an underground space near Fort Ricasoli and Fort Rinella for three days. Her estranged husband has been charged with attempted murder and a number of other offences.

The victim’s father had told this newsroom that Williams previously filed several police complaints about domestic violence against her estranged husband, Roddy Williams from the Seychelles.

The Malta Independent asked the Minister if any changes in the way certain crimes, especially ones of a sensitive nature such as domestic violence, are to be processed by the police. In his reply, Farrugia said:

“On our part, we are launching SOPs in a number of sectors especially in domestic violence. Here we need cooperation not just by the police but other entities. There will be specialised training, however unfortunately not everybody takes these things very seriously.

“The most important is that humanity is shown. I want to see changes, we have begun seeing changes, and in fact I gave orders for a SOP to be developed for cases like these. I also demanded to know whether any information or contact was passed to the police [by Nathalie Williams]. I am interested in what happened, if there were any shortcomings and to get all the facts of the case in order to improve the procedure.”

Malta’s disciplined forces in 2018

A sectoral agreement is to be concluded in order to improve working conditions for the police. Farrugia said this does not just relate to income but also to the work environment.

Refurbishment works on police stations around the island are to take place, while a bigger police station is set to be allocated in Marsaskala as the area has grown in population over the years.

Farrugia revealed that the way in police work using districts is going to be altered, and that there will be four sub-police headquarters  across the island while the Floriana depot will primarily house specialised units.

He said that currently a process is being rethought on how the police work in districts.

Farrugia revealed that the police force and the educational department have collaborated so that classes will be offered at MCAST for those interested in working Malta’s disciplined forces.

New vehicles are to be brought in which allow the police force to speed more safely in high-stress situations requiring quick action. The new vehicles will also be better equipped.

Farrugia announced much welcome investment in specialised sectors such as in cyber and economic crime. The Minister said that the police are aware of how they must look beyond uniformed personnel for these specialised crimes, and that people who are knowledgeable on how to investigate such crimes are paid handsomely in the private sector, therefore attracting them to work within the force would require some incentives.

Farrugia said that he believes the media should have better access to police work, and a complete revamp of the police’s media unit is to be expected in 2018. A person had been identified for some time to oversee this revamp and run the media unit however that person is still serving out their work contract from a previous employer.

“First the first time, after many years, were given a freehand on the investigation on the macabre murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

He said they are still contact persons overseas who can help, and spending has not been capped in any way.

Farrugia turned to the emergency 112 service, speaking of improvement works. He said that trained police will be manning it for the time being, then people will be trained to take over for the police.

The Minister also spoke of a complete revamp within Corradino Correctional Facility with body scanners to replace cavity searches, the director will be taking on a CEO position while the board of governers will oversee policy change.

Malta’s 15-year-old fire extinguishers will be replaced, some having the capabilities of specifically fighting industrial fires, one to cater for high rise buildings and one specifically to combat accidents coming from Liquefied Natural Gas. The latter engine will be placed next to the power station. 

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