Watch: New process for Police Commissioner appointment announced

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has unveiled a new process by which the next Police Commissioner will be chosen.

In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Abela, who was flanked by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri and Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, described the new method as a “transparent” one and that it would break off with the method used in the past. The Public Service Commission will be issuing a public call for the new Police Commissioner. Abela explained that the public call is in line with the recommendation made by the Venice Commission in its report on Malta.

Prime Minister Abela said that the method will be discussed in parliament when asked whether the proposal was discussed with the Opposition. He noted that the proposal put forward by the government includes a public call which was missing from the proposal put forward by the Opposition.

The selection process will be in the hands of the Public Service Commission, an entity which is composed of two government and two opposition representatives and chaired by an individual which is agreed upon by both parties. The Commission will issue the public call.

The Public Service Commission will be in charge of drawing up the call and setting the criteria for eligibility.

The Commission will evaluate the applications and shortlist two candidates who are most eligible for the post. Following the shortlisting, the Prime Minister will then choose the police commissioner. Abela added that in its recommendations the Venice Commission made allowance for a ‘veto’ which would allow the prime minister choose someone else. He explained that he was ready to give up such veto so as not to be at odds with the Public Service Commission.

The prime minister’s choice of candidate will not be final. The candidate will have to face a grilling before the Public Appointments Committee. Abela noted that the Opposition will have the opportunity to put forward any questions to the candidate. A vote in the House of Representatives will be taken on the police commissioner.

During the press conference, Abela said that another aspect was that he was giving his word. ‘I want a police commissioner with integrity who fulfills his duties and carries out their work without any external interference,’ Abela told the press.

PM wants to keep choosing the Police Commissioner alone – PN

Partit Nazjonalista claimed that Prime Minister Robert Abela would like to continue choosing the police commissioner himself, like his predecessor. Reacting to the new method which was unveiled earlier by the Prime Minister during a press conference, the Opposition said that there will not be consensus on the method proposed.

The Opposition noted that the Government holds a majority on both the Commission and the Committee which means that both are under Abela’s control.

Partit Nazzjonalista said that the government chose to ignore the Opposition’s proposal which should be discussed immediately.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abela said that the proposal will be made public in a press conference. A cabinet meeting was held in the morning during which the proposal was discussed.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri confirmed with this newsroom that once the new method is approved by cabinet, it will be presented in the House of Representatives, on Sunday.

Former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar handed in his resignation when Abela was sworn in as Prime Minister. During his first press conference, Abela said that he accepted Cutajar’s resignation. In the meantime an Acting Police Commissioner, Carmelo Magri, was appointed in his stead.