[WATCH] Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigns

Prime Minister Robert Abela has just announced that Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar has resigned

Lawrence Cutajar has resigned from police commissioner
Lawrence Cutajar has resigned from police commissioner
Government to consider new way of appointing police commissioner

Lawrence Cutajar has resigned from police commissioner, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Friday.

Cutajar’s resignation was accepted by Abela and Assistant Commissioner Carmelo Magri has been appointed acting commissioner until a new person is nominated.

The news was disseminated by Abela during a media address at Castille, alongside the new Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri.

“I want to thank Cutajar for his contribution at the police corps during his time in charge,” Abela said.

He also praised the former commissioner for the breakthroughs achieved in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case.

"In his letter, Mr Cutajar wrote that the appointment of a new prime minister demanded change so that necessary reforms to the force could start taking place," the Prime Minister said.

Abela spoke of reforms his government would like to see in the police force but stopped short of outlining what changes are envisaged.

“It is still early to talk about how the structures will be operating. Discussions are yet to be held… while we are looking at reforming the police, this doesn’t mean that they didn’t do anything right,” he said. 

Robert Abela and Byron Camilleri at Castille announcing the police commissioner's resignation. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Robert Abela and Byron Camilleri at Castille announcing the police commissioner's resignation. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Abela said that at the next Cabinet meeting he would initiate the process for a new commissioner to be chosen.

The government will consult with the Opposition before appointing Cutajar's successor, he added.

“I am proud of leading a government that has functioning institutions and a country where the rule of law works,” he said. 

Asked whether he will be expecting any further resignations, including that of the Attorney General Peter Grech, Abela said that both roles are distinct from each other. 

“They are different positions, which hold different responsibilities and so one resignation doesn’t automatically lead to the resignation of the other,” he said.

Cutajar and Grech have both come under fire from civil society groups campaigning for good governance over their handling of serious allegations involving people in power.

Cutajar was appointed police commissioner in 2016 after the resignation of Michael Cassar. He was the fourth police commissioner appointed by the Labour government since coming to power in 2013.

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