Police Commissioner 'will not give in to political pressure'

Newly appointed Police Commissioner says he will not buckle before political pressure.

In an interview with weekly newspaper Illum, newly appointed Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit affirms that he will not buckle in the face of political pressure.

"I would do what I have always done: say thanks but no thanks," Zammit says. "I am not willing to submit to any pressure of any nature that is not strictly legal."

Discussing the John Dalli investigation - currently ongoing - Zammit says that the investigations will press onwards with all the necessary care and caution, noting "even a single word can change the entire slant or direction that an investigation is headed in."

"I will go before the Courts only if I have in hand proof that I am morally satisfied that support a case that I can present. This is my principle. I do not intend to go to Court simply to satisfy a doubt that someone might have, irrespective of what that doubt might be."

He also insists that from his review of the investigation to date, he has so far come across no evidence of any political interference.

Zammit confirms that the Police Force was in a state of considerable stagnation before he stepped into office just over two weeks ago.

He attributes this to several factors, but says the main culprit for the Police Force's many shortcoming across several aspects of its duties is down to a chronic shortage of funding - both in terms of equipment and personnel.

Zammit warns that this lack of funding needs to be addressed in the light of Malta's obligations related to the impending 2017 European Presidency, which will place a big burden on Malta's institutions as the hosting country.

Zammit also praises former commissioner John Rizzo's administration, but concedes that Rizzo perhaps lacked the necessary long-term vision to lead the Force out of its current predicament.

He also opines that while Rizzo had made several attempts to rectify the situation, "it might not have been enough to overcome the resistance he was facing."

Zammit also insists that reports linking him to a testimony of police brutality that took place in the 1980s are malicious misleading, and affirms that the testimony itself was never proven or verified.

"I challenge the author of the reports to follow the story up with facts, and not simply allegations," Zammit said.

He however said he has no intention to sue anyone for libel, saying instead that he was "hurt" by the author's actions, and said that instead of discouraging him, the messages of support he received following the reports only served to fuel his drive.

Zammit insists that one of his priorities is to revise the current administrative system in a way that relieves the Force's central administration from avoidable bureaucratic day-to-day decision-making burdens.

The new Commissioner also lays out an ambitious vision for a Police Force that is wholly party of society and one that is rendered more accessible to the public thanks to a proactive approach to media and public relations.

"Society requires that it be kept informed, and the Police Force is part of that society after all. The media has its own job to do, and we have ours. The public has a right to know what the police is up to, for example in its fight against crime and drugs."

Read the full interview in Sunday's issue of Illum

Talk is cheap Mr Commissioner but now can you do the walk.. Time will tell if you mean that. Good luck.