Independent schools urge police to manage their traffic

Police officers are stationed outside government schools at the beginning and end of the school day but are not assigned to independent schools to carry out the same traffic management duties

Independent schools are calling on the police to manage the traffic around their premises for free, just as they do for government schools. 

Nello Calleja, operations manager at Chiswick House School, told MaltaToday that the police force and government have consistently told them that police officers are “only obliged to control traffic around government schools”. 

“We would love a police officer to control traffic by our school at the start and end of the school day, but we have consistently been told that they are not obliged to do so as we are a private school,” Calleja said. 

A parliamentary question in 2014 to then home affairs minister Manuel Mallia revealed that 91 police officers are assigned to control traffic by government schools every weekday – at the start and end of the school day. Three officers were similarly assigned to church schools, but none to independent schools. 

Indeed, those police officers seen shepherding traffic outside independent schools – such as St Michael Foundation – are carrying out extra duties, and paid for by the school.  

“For safety reasons, I chose to hire a police officer for half an hour every weekday, at the end of the school day,” the school’s director, Alfred Carabott said. “However, I absolutely believe that the government should bear the costs as it does for police stationed outside state schools. It is only fair.” 

Joe Gauci, principal of San Anton School, confirmed that the Independent Schools Association, of which he is president, is in discussion with the government over the problem. “We have argued in favour of the presence of a police officer outside all schools in meetings with the relevant authorities on a number of occasions,” he said.

“Although they have shown openness to the idea, there seems to be difficulty to extend this service to schools other than state schools due to a lack of available policemen.” 

San Anton is in discussion with the police force over the presence of an officer to shepherd traffic, to replace the current warden.