The Malta Independent 25 September 2022, Sunday
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‘Quality of our work environment is essential to increase staff motivation’ – police

Marc Galdes Sunday, 7 August 2022, 11:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The police have defended themselves against accusations raised by the Malta Police Union that some police stations are “horror houses” and “not adequate”, admitting however that the quality of the environment in which officers work is “essential to increase staff motivation”.

The Malta Independent was seeking the reaction of the police after the union, for the last three weeks, has been sending photos of the inside of police stations, showing tangled wires, peeling walls and a general sense of neglect.

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The photos received were of the St Julian’s, Valletta (photo above) and Msida police stations. Photos of the situation at the Hamrun and Qawra police stations were also sent.

“We acknowledge that the quality of our work environment is essential to increase staff motivation and for providing the best possible service to our customers,” the MPF replied to questions sent by this newsroom.

It its reply, the police gave a list of the work that was carried out in various police stations in the past months. The five police stations picked by the MPU were not part of the list.

St Julian's police station

The police claimed to have carried out major renovations on the police stations of Zejtun, Zabbar, Birzebbuga, Cospicua, Naxxar, St Paul’s Bay, Paola and Marsalforn, the community policing office at Mtarfa, Fgura, Swieqi, Floriana, Santa Venera and Mellieha, the Ta’ Kandja Quarters and the Police Mounted Section.

Furthermore, the MPF said that over five years, the cost of refurbishing premises run by the police was over €7.5m. Added to this, more than €3.2m was invested in new equipment and over €3.3m in their fleet.

In spite of this, several police stations are in a dire need of refurbishing, as could be seen by the pictures that were released by the MPU.

In one of these statements, the MPU said that “the usual paint, changing of a desk, computer and posters with attracting slogans will not do. Our stations must be fully equipped, including changing rooms and staff room”.

The Malta Independent asked the police about this, but no reference was made to it in the police’s reply.

Asked whether or not the issues mentioned by the MPU will be addressed, the police said that “by the end of this year, the Forensic Science Laboratory will be making use of new offices within the Police HQ and the International Relations Unit will move to new premises in Floriana”.

The new Marsascala Police Station is planned to be inaugurated by the end of this year and they are “currently working on executing a major overhaul of the Msida Police Station”, one of the stations highlighted for neglect by the MPU.

Msida police station

“Other renovation works are currently ongoing in several other premises including the Marsa Police Station, Quarter Master Stores, Weapons Office and the Birgu Police Station.”

The St Julian’s, Valletta, Hamrun and Qawra police stations, which were all mentioned by the MPU as needing an upgrading, were not listed by the police in the answers given to TMI.

This newspaper also brought up MPU’s claim that “officers feel ashamed providing their services to persons of all kinds of standard and status in these buildings” and how under these conditions, an officer’s motivation “will vanish quickly”.

The police responded by highlighting that the general employee’s well-being is their “topmost priority”; in fact, over the past year the police partnered with the Health Promotion Directorate and the Employee Support Programme to ensure a healthier workforce.

They also made it clear that they are providing their officers with “decent working hours, ensuring adequate rest periods”.

Payments for any performed extra/overtime duties are also being paid in a more expedient way. All the mentioned measures were positively welcomed by our officers, the police said.

When asked about the reason why in the past 18 months 300 officers have left the MPF, they replied: “It is a natural process that police officers retire on pension after their 25 years of service and going back 25 years we could see that at the time, there were two large back-to-back recruitments, meaning that all these officers have either retired or are eligible to retire on pension at any time. It is however also envisaged that since for three consecutive years there have been no further recruitments, over the next three years there will be more police officers joining, rather than leaving the MPF.”

The MPF also pointed out how they are supporting their officers to continue their professional development after they reach their 25 years of service.

Moreover, they expressed their achievements where they built new premises and departments, increased their vehicle assets and multiple stations were made accessible for persons with disability.

 

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