[WATCH] Updated | Police officer critically injured after being run over by underage driver

48-year-old constable Simon Schembri was seriously injured • A 17-year-old charged with the attempted murder • Prime Minister says he knew the officer

Updated with Prime Minister's comments

A police constable was left critically injured after a 17 year-old ran him over on Tuesday morning. 

The teenager has since been charged with attempted murder.

Police Constable Simon Schembri was nearly killed when he was run over by Liam Debono, suffering a collapsed lung and fractures to his pelvis and ribs. Police Constable Schembri’s right arm had to be amputated below the elbow as a result of the injuries sustained.

The incident happened close to the roundabout near Lidl supermarket, in Triq Hal Qormi in Luqa, at 7.40am.

According to a police statement, Schembri tried to stop the young driver to ask for his driving licence and related documentation. This prompted the driver to try to escape, hitting the constable in the process and draggng him for several metres.

Sources said that the 17-year-old driver hit the policeman near Lidl and kept driving, dragging the officer along on the car bonnet. The policeman later fell off the car, and was run over again, next to the industrial area.

Schembri is a 48-year-old police constable from Paola and has three children. 

An ambulance took the constable to Mater Dei hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment.

The underage driver appears to have crashed the car he was driving in Triq Ħal Farruġ, Luqa before being apprehended by the police.

Prime Minister's comments

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he knew the injured constable personally, since the officer was part of his police escort on a few occasions.

"The policeman is in the intensive care unit, being treated for serious injuries - I hope he is not in any other danger," Muscat said, "I thank the police for catching the person who allegedly committed this grave act, but we will leave it to the justice system to deal with the matter."

The Prime Minister had earlier tweeted about the incident, offering solidarity. 

A society lacking in discipline and respect towards authority – Malta Police Association

The Malta Police Association has categorically condemned the incident, saying that what had happened was unacceptable in “a society that was meant to be a civil and normal one”.

It said that, without prejudicing eventual court proceedings, it could not remain silent when a “colleague and member of the police force that represents the authority of the state ends up in such a situation while carrying out his duties”.

“We fear, and would be delusional if we did not recognise and accept, that this is a reflection of a society that is lacking in every form of discipline and respect towards authority and those representing it,” said the MPA in a statement.

“In this culture, where sensationalism often dictates the agenda of those who govern, there is a need for a greater appreciation of the police both as an authority as well as people, individuals, workers, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.”

Furthermore, the MPA said that, as it had done in recent years, it was calling on the government to take serious action in the face of the current situation and the danger that policemen encounter on a daily basis.

“We can’t assure the safety of the public if there is no form of discipline on the roads. Everyone must take responsibility for this, starting with the country’s highest authorities, all the way to families in their homes.”

The MPA said it would be doing everything in its power to ensure that justice was served.

PN condemnation

The Nationalist Party also released a statement, showing solidarity and support with Schembri and his family.

“The PN condemns all forms of violence against police officers, who risk their lives for citizens everyday,” the statement read.

It urged the government to take the decisions that would provide police officers with all the protection possible.