[WATCH] Police Commissioner promises no hesitation in investigating people in power

On Xtra Sajf, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa says the force will not hold back from investigating people in power but draws a distinction between intelligence and evidence required for a conviction in a court of law

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa

There will be no hesitation in investigating people in power should the need arise, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has promised.

However, he insisted that just because an individual has not been called in for interrogation does not mean that they are not being investigated.

“We only send for the suspects when we have a solid basis upon which to interrogate them,” he said on TVM’s Xtra Sajf.

Gafa said a distinction had to be made between intelligence (what one may know) and evidence that can be produced in court as proof.

Gafa said that unless a person’s guilt can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the individual would not only walk free but, under the law of double jeopardy, cannot be charged again for that same crime.

He said this applies to persons of interest in investigations. 

“We do not hold back with them, but we would be working to see how we can convert the intelligence we have into evidence, because we can’t go to court with intelligence only,” he said, adding that very often the picture is far more complicated than it seems.

“I never held back from investigating anyone, even when I was younger and was still an inspector, and I definitely will not hold back now,” he said.

Gafa added there was no such thing as victimless crime.

“There are cases, especially where corruption is involved, that many people think are victimless crimes, but in these cases society itself is the victim,” he said.

Gafa was appointed police commissioner earlier this year, replacing Lawrence Cutajar, who resigned in January when the new prime minister formed his administration.

The police force has for the past few years come under fire over its lethargy to investigate allegations of money laundering and corruption involving people in power.

Economic crimes and domestic violence

Gafa said internal restructuring was taking place to respond to evolving crime patterns.

He described the field of economic crimes as being an “absolute top priority” for the corps at this moment in time.

The unit has been strengthened with the addition of new officers and equipment, and has even been moved to newer and more adequate premises.

“When I used to work there it used to be the smallest investigative squad. Now, it’s the largest, and that shows the priorities of the corps,” Gafa said.

Similarly, he said a new specialised unit to deal with domestic violence was in the offing.

“The victims of domestic violence are different from other victims. You need to have soft skills to deal with these victims, so now we are ensuring that apart from our continued training of all officers, we will have a unit to provide a specialised, uniform, and consistent service; a unit that will understand, and will take immediate action,” he said.

Outlining his vision for the force, Gafa said the corps should have the values of honesty, loyalty, and competency, at its core. He insisted that people who do not harbour such values have no room within its ranks.

Asked about the degree of interference politicians might have on ongoing investigations, Gafa’ said that he only consults with the minister were legal matters are concerned, since these require action to be taken by legislators.

“However, there is an absolute distinction where the operations of the corps and investigations are concerned. There, neither the minister nor any other person in government will have the opportunity to interfere in any investigation being conducted by the corps,” he said.

Gafa said the negative perception of the police force built over the years had to be countered through results and making the corps more approachable.

“The public expects results and these are coming, but they also expect the corps to be more open, and closer to it, which is why we are implementing certain measures such as community policing,” he underlined.

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