The process to appoint a new commissioner of Police has been initiated – a crucial post in terms of keeping the peace and maintaining the rule of law. However, the criteria for applications for this serious and prestigious post, as set out in the public call issued in the last few days – are different and surprising. 

There was a time when, for a person to be appointed commissioner of police, they had to  have served in the corps or scrupulously carried out their duties and responsibilities. 

What are the criteria, according to the reform, to apply for the post of Commissioner of Police? According to this call, the applicant need not present education and academic certificates; because all that is being asked is that they “are able to communicate well in Maltese and English”. In the past, to apply for the post of Inspector, the applicant needed to have a University degree and anyone wanting to apply for the post of constable (that is the lowest rank in the Corps) needed to have O Level certificates. 

Additionally, one would be asked for one’s certificate of conduct.  This is a document that shows that one does not have a criminal record. What are we doing now? With the reform, we have removed this criterion. Whether or not the applicant has committed a crime is of no matter.  It is sufficient to show that one is “responsible, confident, assertive and emotionally intelligent” and also have “leadership skills to motivate the Corps.” The call for applications goes on to say that the applicant needs to give “evidence that they are ready to spearhead the complete overhaul that needs to happen in the force.” 

This portal is in possession of a circular issued by the Division of People and Standards within the Office of the Prime Minister. This circular, signed by the Principal Permanent Secretary, is encouraging officials or civil servants who think that they are qualified for the job, to apply. 

Any official from any Government department can apply. Even people who do not work with the public service can apply. There is no need to have experience in the Police Corps. It is sufficient that the candidate has “effective skills to lower criminality in challenging situations”. 

How is the process going to work? What we know is that the Public Service Commission will be monitoring this call as at the end of the day it will be whittling down the list of candidates to the two most suitable ones. The members of parliament will then be voting to choose the best candidate, with the final decision being the Prime Minister’s. 

Who knows who this ‘bozo’ is going to be who can very well have fewer qualifications from any member of the Corp who has embarked on this career with a sense of vocation, enthusiasm and a great deal of fortitude? 

Voice of the Workers feels that in a democratic society it is essential to have a Police Corps that is led by an impartial professional who accepts and safeguards the rule of law.