[WATCH] District police receive new cars and Segways

Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar says it is useless investing in specialised units if people aren’t able to get a proper service in their locality

District police officers will receive new cars and Segways
District police officers will receive new cars and Segways

All police districts will have new vehicles by the end of October, in a bid to boost the service provided within localities, Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar said.

Cutajar was speaking on Thursday at a press conference marking the arrival of 50 new police vehicles, which will be used by district police across Malta and Gozo.

The investment follows the addition of 15 police bikes back in January, as well as the refurbishment of a number of police stations in various localities.

“Up until recently, we would give new cars to the corps’ specialised branches, and they would eventually be handed down to district police at the end of their lifetime,” Cutajar said.

This was an unacceptable situation as police stations had to make do with cars that were in the garage every other week, he added.

“This will all end, as districts are going to be given the tools they need for them to be effective on the front line in our communities,” Cutajar said.

The police corps has a seven-year plan to modernise its 400-car fleet
The police corps has a seven-year plan to modernise its 400-car fleet

A further 24 cars have been ordered, with 12 having already arrived and in the process of being fitted to be used as police vehicles.

Cutajar said that a seven-year plan had been put in place, that will see the corps modernise its entire 400-car fleet.

In addition to allow police officers to be better equipped, Cutajar said the new cars would serve as additional motivation.

Cutajar said new uniforms for the corps are in the offing.

District police, he said, were being given the recognition they deserve.

“It’s useless having very advanced specialised branches, that are among the best in Europe, if an elderly man can’t go to a police station and get the service he needs,” Cutajar stressed.

In addition to the new cars, eight specialised Segways have also been added to the fleet. 

Cutajar noted that these vehicles had proved very effective in combatting certain types of crime, like pickpocketing. 

They allow police officers to arrive at the scene of crime quicker, especially when it occurs in a pedestrian area. Given that they are also silent, they allow the police to use the element of surprise when a crime has been reported.

Two Segways will be stationed in Valletta, with Sliema, St Julian’s, Qawra, Rabat in Gozo and Marsaskala all receiving one.

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia
Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said the investment in the force needed to be viewed within the context of a process initiated by the ministry in order to take stock of the situation within the country’s disciplined forces and determine what they required to fulfil their mission statement.

In addition to investment that could be easily seen, such as new police cars, Farrugia said that significant investment was being made in increasing human resources and police training.

This, he said, was essential for the police to keep up with the challenges brought on by a population that is growing and also more affluent - both contributors to increased levels of crime, he said.

Farrugia said that going forward, the police would be emphasising on the need to be closer to the community. The launch earlier this month of a community policing project was a testament to this, he said.

The proposed change in the legal system, that would see police inspectors prosecuting crimes would also contribute to justice being served quicker and more fairly, given the police’s knowledge of the communities they police.