Police CEO to be installed by end of year

New police force chief executive has been selected, home affairs minister Carmelo Abela says

Home affairs minister Carmelo Abela
Home affairs minister Carmelo Abela

The first chief executive officer of the Police Force should be announced by the end of the year, administrative processes permitting, and pending the final approval of the conditions by the candidate himself, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said on Tuesday.

Interviews have been held with all 21 applicants, and a preferred candidate has been selected and informed of the decision.

Abela, who was speaking at a press conference before parliament started debating the amendments in a second reading, said this was an important step in the modernisation process of the Corps.

He said the modernisation was not geared solely towards upgrading equipment and facilities, but also in the mentality and approach adopted by all members of the corps.

Chief among amendments is the creation of a board of governance that will be responsible for setting the force's strategy and direction and which will implement government's plans for the force.

Strengthening and increasing police presence in the communities is an important aspect of government's strategy, Abela said.

The position of chief executive officer will also be established under the amendments, as proposed in the Labour Party's electoral manifesto, to complement the work of the police commissioner.

Abela said the bill also stipulated that parliament discuss the board of governance's annual report, while other documents would be discussed within the House Social Affairs Committee.

The police internal investigations unit will be expanded to also be in charge of carrying out internal audits.

The Police Board's functions and compositions will be amended under the bill though it will continue to serve as an investigative body for complaints brought against the force by the public or the police themselves.

Abela said the main purposes of the bill was to have a forward-looking police force, that works seamlessly with foreign counterparts.

As to whether having the government appoint the board of governance would stifle the corps' independence, the minister said he felt that this would open up decision-making while diminishing subjectivity in issues like appointments and promotions.

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