Prime Minister: Police officers doing their duty deserve constant respect

Joseph Muscat emphasised importance of respecting those serving the people, at public service conference

(Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Police officers who do their daily duty deserve respect every day, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, emphasising the importance of society manifesting such respectful attitudes.

Speaking at the annual public service conference, Muscat said that Simon Schembri - the police constable who was this week seriously injured in a hit-and- run incident - had been doing his duty and offering a service to the people.

"What happened should serve as a wake-up call for everyone. We have to stop and reflect on the respect we show towards those who offer a public service," he said.

The civil service now has more power to take decisions, with political intrusion minimised, he remarked.

"Every month, I receive a report from the public service on whether my ministers are performing well or not," he said, "A new high standard is entering the public service, and people are feeling this."

Muscat said that the way the government serves the public had been revolutionised. "We now see the public as our clients."

Touching on the issue of the two-monthly billing period resulting in higher electricity bills, Muscat said that a review of the utility bills system was underway.

"If we find ways of improving the billing system, we will undertake the administrative changes," he underlined.

Mario Cutajar, principal permanent secretary, emphasised that the government had transformed the public service into one which was outward looking and communicated with citizens.

(Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
(Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

"In 2013 we started with a public service which had problems - people were feeling  he discouraged when needing to use the government's services," he said.

From a public service which was uncommunicative, Cutajar said, the government turned it to one with an online presence offering e-services - including the Business First service and the "one-stop-shop" initiative - and gave it a social media platform.

"We started the de-centralisation of the service, and this delegation of power will increase in the coming year," he highlighted, "There will be more monitoring than control."

He added that from a situation where the time passed from the issuance of a tender request to its award was 242 days, the government had reduced this to 84.

Malta is now third best in the EU when in comes to customer satisfaction in the public service, Cutajar underscored.