Three police officers caught with cocaine in Paceville raid

The home affairs minister has confirmed that two officers of the Rapid Intervention Unit and a newly-badged constable are to be arraigned soon, after having been discovered to be in possession of cocaine during a raid before Christmas

Two of the three officers are members of the Rapid Intervention Unit
Two of the three officers are members of the Rapid Intervention Unit

Two officers of the Police Force’s Rapid Intervention Unit and a constable fresh out of the academy have been suspended and are to be arraigned in court after having been caught in possession of cocaine during a police raid.

The Times reported today that the cocaine was discovered by the police drugs squad during a raid in a Paceville nightclub in the week before Christmas, when the three were off duty.

The two RIU officers have been in the force for two and one years respectively while the third suspended officer had only been a policeman for one week before the raid, having just taken his oath of allegiance during the passing our parade at the Police Academy on 16 December.

The article said that Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia had confirmed the report.

It also quoted sources saying that internal controls within the force were “quite lax” with little screening for drug abuse taking place.

Farrugia told the newspaper that urine tests were carried out regularly but sources insisted they had never been asked for a urine sample as long as they had served.

In a statement this morning, the Nationalist Party said that the report confirmed what a bad state the corps was in and the bad leadership it currently enjoyed.

The PN said this was the third scandal to hit the corps in only one week, following the resignation of Assistant Commissioner Mario Tonna – whose partner accused him of domestic violence – and after minister Farrugia had tried to justify Tonna’s behaviour, blaming it on the long working hours.

“The Nationalist Party feels this disastrous state the Corps finds itself in is a reflection of its leadership in the figure of Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, as well as the minister and Prime Minister who continue to defend him,” the party said.

The latest news, the PN said, was a result of the government’s partisan decision to do away with the need for persons applying to join the Police Force to be in possession of a clean police conduct. 

"Under this administration, 47 persons with a criminal record have joined the force."

It also asked why news of the drug find and imminent arraignment of the three police officers had been kept under wraps until it was revealed by he media. 

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