Hunting enforcement officers transferred

10 police officers transferred from Administrative Law Enforcement unit. Ministry denies

Sources said up to 10 ALE members were transferred since March 2013
Sources said up to 10 ALE members were transferred since March 2013

Up to 10 members of the Administrative Law Enforcement (ALE) police unit have been transferred, MaltaToday has learned.

Sources told this newspaper that over the past year or so, up to 10 members of the ALE unit have been transferred within the corps for a number of reasons.

MaltaToday is informed that while a number of officers were transferred “for political reasons,” others were transferred for their even-handedness when dealing with hunters.

However, a home affairs ministry spokesperson denied this and said the information was “incorrect.”

In reply to a number of questions about the transfers, the spokesperson said that only two ALE members were transferred “because the exigencies of the Police Corps dictated that they were needed elsewhere. However previously the ALE complement was increased.”
The core ALE unit is made up of around 20 officers but during the hunting seasons the number is incremented by district officers.

Sources said that a number of officers were transferred because of their manifest political allegiances, but some others were moved to other departments for resisting pressures in carrying out their duties.

The move has come as a surprise to many, especially since most of the transferred members are veterans in the field and carried out their duties impartially.

Since taking power in 2013, the Labour government has been criticised for appeasing the hunting lobby by easing restrictions and re-opening the trapping season this autumn following a five-year gap.

Moreover, the government’s decision to postpone the local elections planned for 2015 has been viewed by many environmentalists as an attempt to placate the strong lobby ahead of the referendum on spring hunting.

A lower turnout is expected if the referendum on spring hunting is not held in conjunction with local elections. A low turnout could lead to the result being annulled if a 50%+1 voter turnout is not achieved.