The Malta Independent 6 August 2020, Thursday

Police scandal: Internal call launched to replace suspended Traffic Branch officers

Neil Camilleri Wednesday, 19 February 2020, 16:23 Last update: about 7 months ago

An internal call has been issued to fill the posts vacated by officers who have been suspended or have resigned in the wake of a corruption investigation at the Traffic Branch, the Malta Police Force has told this newsroom.

The police media relations unit has, on the other hand, did not reply to questions about an investigation that has been launched into a similar racket at the Police District 1 – also referred to as the Valletta district.

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Four-fifths of the officers at the Traffic Branch have been arrested in connection with a racket involving extra-duty abuse. Officers were pocketing thousands of euro for overtime work they were not actually doing. The unit is also being investigated over the collection of protection money from contractors and transport companies, and for fuel misappropriation. The investigation was launched after the racket was revealed by a whistleblower.

The Malta Independent reported today that another racket, related solely to extra duty abuse, is being investigated at the 1st Police District. The district comprises of Valletta, Floriana, part of Marsa and the Water Police.

Questions sent to the police force asking how many people have been arrested or suspended were not answered. A spokesperson simply said that, “investigations with regards to the traffic section are still ongoing in line with a Magisterial Inquiry. The Malta Police Force will take all necessary legal action once these investigations are terminated.”

41 officers have been arrested, with 25 of them being suspended. “Seven officials applied for their retirement and have been accepted,” the police said.

Asked what measures were being taken to replenish the depleted ranks of the Traffic Branch, the spokesperson said that a contingency plan is currently in place for traffic law enforcement to still be carried out by the District Police together with the help of Transport Malta and LESA officials. 

“An internal call for Police personnel interested to be considered for posting at the Traffic Branch as motorcyclists has been issued. Following a selection process, those chosen would be replacing the officers who have been suspended or have retired. In the meantime, a new recruitment course is scheduled to commence in March and a fresh call for police constables would be published in due course.”

The Police Force has urged anyone with any information about these allegations to contact the Police even in confidence on 2294 2201 or by email via [email protected].

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