Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà still believes that there is a case against disgraced former European Commissioner John Dalli.
In a Newsbook.com.mt interview hosted by Fr Joe Borg, Gafà, who became the first police chief to be chosen through a public call, spoke about his first months in the post and his plans for the Police Force.
After taking the helm, Gafà started going through the investigation files. The police chief explained that the police is prioritizing cases and investigations. He explained that there are some cases which are transnational crimes in nature that would depend on other jurisdictions for more information. Some other case files could be concluded if we focus on them, he remarked.
Gafà noted that the Financial Crimes Investigation Unit which was one of the smallest departments was the recipient of heavy investment in its human resources and technological equipment which can assist investigators in sifting through data. The police chief who also served within this unit for nine years noted that nowadays professionals are employed to assist the police. Task-forces have been created to focus on particular investigations. He remarked that the work will bear fruit over the coming weeks and months.
The investment also comes within a context. Malta has been placed under the spotlight by various international institutions. Referring to Moneyval, Gafà explained that it was not only a question of being under the spotlight, it was also a case of moving forward. He underlined that the financial industry also takes into consideration the law enforcement aspect when mulling about investment in a country.
During the interview, Fr Joe Borg referred to Gafà’s move to the Security Service. He noted that at the time the rumours were rife, and that he was at odds with the then police commissioner on the action to be taken against John Dalli.
Gafà as a police inspector was the chief prosecutor in the case against former Sliema deputy mayor Silvio Zammit. Zammit had faced charges of bribery, trading in influence and relapsing, to which he pleaded not guilty. He was arraigned in December 2012.
Zammit was charged in relation to the snus case which led to the resignation of Dalli who was forced to resign as European Health Commissioner in October 2012 when an OLAF investigation concluded there was “unambiguous circumstantial evidence” showing he knew that Mr Zammit, his former canvasser requested a large sum money from a Swedish tobacco company to lift an EU ban on snus – a smokeless form of tobacco which can only be sold in Sweden.
Speaking about the case, Gafà noted that he had already testified in parliament. He highlighted that his position back then remained the same to date and that he was of the belief that Dalli should be prosecuted.
Without mentioning any names, Gafà remarked that the person who is already facing criminal proceedings has a vital role in the possible prosecution of the disgraced EU Commissioner. He remarked that the case was being evaluated in the context of the ongoing criminal proceedings and the looming deadline for the prescriptive period.
A living document
The Police will be launching a new Code of Ethics. The current code was issued some 20 years ago. Speaking on Newsbook.com.mt, Gafà explained that he would like to have the Code of Ethics revised every five years and ensure that it is a living document.
He explained that police officers continuously receive in-service training as part of their continuous professional development. Two of these sessions will be dedicated to the new code.
Gafà explained that community policing does not refer to having police doing patrols.
Community policing or community-oriented policing is a strategy of policing that focuses on building ties and working closely with members of the communities.
The central goal of community policing is for the police to build relationships with the community through interactions with local agencies and members of the public, creating partnerships and strategies for reducing crime and disorder.
Gafà referred to the pilot project at Mellieħa. He highlighted that by working together with the community, trust is improved between the law enforcement institution and the community.
“Most of the time we are treating the problems in community policing. Problems lead to crime,” he said.
Gafà explained that by meeting with the community, priorities for the community are established.
“The results obtained are a success for the whole community,” he remarked.