Coronavirus: Police contingency plan in place

Covid-19 contingency plan for police has been input in place which details how the corps would operate in the event of a 20% or 40% drop in available officers due to the coronavirus

A contingency plan setting out how the police corps will function as the coronavirus pandemic progresses has been put in place.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said that in the past hours a report has been issued mapping out police corps contingency measures in light of the spread of Covid-19.

The report specifies how the police will keep functioning in the event that only 80% or 60% of the corps is available due to officers being out of action due to possibly being ill with the coronavirus.

Camilleri was speaking during a virtual conference for the press - the first of its kind organised by a government ministry - on the Annual Crime Report for 2019.

Answering questions from the media, the minister said that the contingency plans envisage a situation where crime rates could increase, due to factors such as people ending up without a job, or persons trying to take advantage of the current situation to commit illegalities. The plan specifies that, should such circumstances materialise, certain police stations would be closed and instead officers would be patrolling Malta's roads to safeguard people's safety.

Police highly prepared

Camilleri said the police were "armed to the teeth" in terms of their preparedness for the challenges which they might face as the coronavirus pandemic develops locally.

He said thousands of spot checks were taking place to ensure government measures, such as obligatory quarantine and forced closure, were being adhered to.

Questioned on the progress of the police investigation into the traffic sectional scandal which had seen most of the section's officer suspended, Camilleri said investigations were progressing.

"Investigations are ongoing. And, even with the new coronavirus issue [and the court's closure], the law courts can be opened for major cases, so if needed people can be charged in this regard," he said.