The Nationalist Party’s justice spokesperson Jason Azzopardi is proposing increasing the maximum period of arrest from the current 48 hours to 96 hours when major crimes are investigated.
As a safeguard against abuse, Azzopardi suggested that an extension to the arrest period should only be granted by the duty magistrate if the police officers responsible can prove it is justified in the interest of furthering the investigation or preserving evidence.
The MP said that he was relaying the concerns of police officers, and questioned the practice of treating petty crimes such as a simple theft and major crimes such as homicide equally when it comes to the arrest of suspects.
“This is wrong, surreal, bizarre and anachronistic,” Azzopardi maintained. He also mentioned that the UK introduced similar measures in recent years after amending its Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
The MP suggested that for the purpose of this measure, major crimes could be any which carry a jail term of more than 9 years.
However, he emphasised that his suggested numbers were not set in stone, and declared his willingness to discuss the proposal with the government on short notice.
“You do not need a lot of know-how to implement this proposal; it’s a matter of goodwill,” Azzopardi maintained.