Officers blast 'opaque and unjust' police promotion method

Twenty-eight police sergeants have filed a judicial protest claiming to have been unjustly passed over for promotion

The judicial protest alleges that the later promotions had been ordered by the Commissioner of Police to rectify the injustice that the eight had suffered
The judicial protest alleges that the later promotions had been ordered by the Commissioner of Police to rectify the injustice that the eight had suffered

Twenty-eight police sergeants have filed a judicial protest this morning, claiming to have been unjustly passed over for promotion by a selection process that the Commissioner of Police had tacitly recognised as flawed.

The protest was filed before the First Hall of the Civil Court against the Commissioner of Police, the Minister for the Interior and National Security, the Police Appeals Board, the Public Service Commission and the Office of the Prime Minister by lawyer Joseph P. Bonello.

The plaintiffs are alleging that after 13 candidates had been promoted to Sergeant Major in the 2013 call, a second group of eight candidates who had participated in the same selection process, were promoted in 2016. 

All candidates had been interviewed, but the resulting scores had not been published, the protest alleges.

Internal circular 61/2013, which had been issued on 4 September 2013 and had laid out the eligibility requirements for promotion to the rank of Sergeant Major, had included a clause saying that proven experience in a relevant role would be given due consideration. The plaintiffs allege that this clause had been removed in a second circular, bearing the same number, which had been issued later that same day.

The Commissioner of Police had sent an internal communication to all officers on 15 November 2013 announcing that 13 sergeants and a Second Class Sergeant Major were to report to the Police General Headquarters in Floriana to receive their promotions.

When, on 5 May 2016, the Commissioner of Police had issued another internal announcement, calling a further eight sergeants and one Second Class Sergeant Major to do the same, the complainants began to question the process.

The judicial protest alleges that the later promotions had been ordered by the Commissioner of Police to rectify the injustice that the eight had suffered as a result of the “opaque and unjust” selection method used in 2013.

“However, the remedy offered by the Commissioner of Police was offered in a selective and discriminatory manner, resulting in the complainants finding themselves in an identical position” to the eight officers recently promoted, with the difference that they had not been offered a remedy, the protest argues.

Positing that the second batch of promotions was a tacit recognition by the Commissioner of the fact that injustices had occurred, the sergeants called on the Commissioner of Police, the Minister for the Interior and National Security, the Police Appeals Board, the Public Service Commission and the Office of the Prime Minister to rectify the situation or face legal action.

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