Police unions up in arms over 'deteriorating' working conditions of district officers

Malta Police Union files industrial dispute claiming deteriorating conditions of work inside police force • Police Officers Union requests urgent meeting with Police Commissioner

“Our districts are not equipped to handle a major accident where a large number of officers are required to intervene,” the union said.
“Our districts are not equipped to handle a major accident where a large number of officers are required to intervene,” the union said.

Malta’s two police unions are up in arms over deteriorating working conditions in the police force, with one of them going as far as registering an industrial dispute.

The Malta Police Union registered an industrial dispute claiming working conditions have been “implemented without any consultation” and this will have a negative effect on officers and drain manpower from districts.

The MPU denounced the “situation of disappointment, demotivation and great uncertainty”, claiming the force was being “administered from an office through a computer”. “The union is being inundated with complaints from its members regarding the inhumane working situation in various branches, mostly districts. They are struggling to keep up their daily commitments, in times when the usual commitments are non-existent,” the MPU said.

Fearing a return to ‘normal’ levels of operation after the lifting of COVID-19 measures, the MPU said with overtime now reduced to cover mainly fixed point security, district sergeants are being instructed to man fixed points.

“Our districts are not equipped to handle a major accident where a large number of officers are required to intervene,” the union said. “Administrative duties are increasing drastically, with demands and instructions from the same administration to maintain attractive statistical numbers, which might give a picture that everything is ok to the general public, when in fact it’s not.”

The union complained that police officers were being prevented from earning extra money in their free time to live a decent life for their families. “Irreparable damage has been done, however in Floriana, it’s business as usual,” it said, referring to the police force’s transformation strategy. “It is continuing to cost us money with all the staff deployed to make it function, when in reality it is impossible, has brought only havoc amongst members of the police force.”

“We will soon arrive to the point when no police officers will be available. Mental health is an important issue, which within the Malta Police Force, no one cares for. The wellbeing is only used for promotional purposes. When it feels it’s too much, it is too much,” the MPU said.

Similarly, the Police Officers Union, a branch of the GWU, said the administration was not appreciative of the work done by police officers and implemented several changes without consultation.

POU spokesperson Roderick Psaila said the union called for an urgent meeting with Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà so that certain decisions that are negatively impacting officers, both physically and mentally, are revised.

"Despite the fact that district police are on the frontline of every criminal act that gets reported, they remain one of a few branches within the force not to have a special allowance that special branches receive. Police district officers need respect," the POU said.

PN shows solidarity

Meanwhile, Nationalist Party home affairs spokesperson Beppe Fenech Adami expressed solidarity with police officers, denouncing government for not investing enough in the force.

He blamed the government for a lack of overtime and extra duty payments and for ignoring the unions' calls.

"A Nationalist government will ensure police officers are given the respect they deserve... a PN government will end the politics of austerity adopted by the current administration in the police force," Fenech Adami said.