Police chief wanted: first ever public call to fill top police job is published

The Public Service Commission has published a call for applications for the post of police commissioner as the new method of appointment kicks in

For the first time ever the next police commissioner will be chosen after a public call for applications and a parliamentary grilli
For the first time ever the next police commissioner will be chosen after a public call for applications and a parliamentary grilli

Anybody gunning for police chief will have to submit a four-year plan outlining their vision for the force, according to a public call to fill in the position.

The first ever public call to fill in the vacancy of police commissioner was published today in the Government Gazzette by the Public Service Commission.

The call was made possible after parliament recently approved a government proposal to change the manner in which the police commissioner is chosen.

The police commissioner will be engaged on a four-year term that can be extended and will have a one-year probation.

Applicants for the post must be Maltese citizens, can communicate in Maltese and English, “be accountable, self-confident, assertive and emotionally intelligent”.

Candidates can be from outside the public service.

Among a list of attributes, the individual must be “of conduct which is appropriate to the position” and able to lead “transformational change” in the police force.

Due consideration will be given to applicants with relevant academic qualifications, preferably at Masters level.

The PSC will conduct interviews with candidates, who will also be required to undergo a psychometric test.

The commission will then short list the two most ideal candidates for Cabinet to select. The candidate chosen by government will then have to undergo a grilling at the hands of MPs in Parliament’s public appointments committee.

This system of appointment will remove the unilateral power enjoyed by all previous prime ministers to choose the police commissioner of their liking.

Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigned last January
Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigned last January

Former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigned last January soon after Robert Abela became prime minister.

Carmelo Magri was appointed acting police commissioner until the new appointment system was introduced.

The Nationalist Party wanted the police commissioner to be chosen by a two-thirds parliamentary majority to grant the person security of tenure and wide support.

The post of police commissioner was at the centre of strong criticism over the past few years over the force’s inability and apparent unwillingness to prosecute crimes linked to money laundering involving people close to power. 

Applications for the post close on 11 May.

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