“To provide a professional and trusted policing service to ensure safety and security in partnership with the community”.
That is what the mission statement of the Malta Police states. But beyond ink on paper, beyond the words, one underlying factor is evident – the Maltese people are recognising that the Police Force has changed for the better, truly ensuring safety and security, and working from within the heart of our communities. This is how public trust is achieved.
So much so, that recent Eurobarometer statistics show that 58% of the Maltese population have trust in the Police Force. This is a rise of 8% when compared to the previous report. On the other hand, only 30% of the population say that they do not trust the police, an 8% decline from the previous report.
This vote of confidence did not happen overnight. The Malta Police force has undergone a thorough process of reforms, some of which are still works in progress.
Last year, the force launched its Transformation Strategy 2020-2025, breathing new life into decades of perpetual way of doing things.
Many of such reforms are easy recognisable. One such change is the concept of an open police force, a more transparent force.
Having police officers, among them, the Commissioner of Police, facing journalists and answering questions on matters of national interest, in a calm and professional way is refreshing to say the least.
The publication of the Code of Ethics applicable to all sworn members of the force allows for public scrutiny, guarantees best of practices and ensures a good working environment for members of the police force. Whilst measures to combat corruption practices have been put in place, police officers also have the ability to submit their information or reports anonymously.
These are all important measures to take the force forward and ensure accountability.
The presence of police offices in our communities is another tangible aspect of the current reform. From the results achieved in those communities were community policing was introduced, it is evident that this is the right way forward. Families, business people, and local communities feel much safer, knowing the police officers patrolling their areas by their names and having direct contact with them.
This service will be further extended to other localities such as Ħamrun and Marsa, amongst others, because police personnel should be in the heart of our communities in order to be closer to residents, and to maximise the resources of the Police Force.
Finally, the long-awaited introduction of bodycams on police officers will take us to the next level. This development not only provides further protection to police officers on duty, but also peace of mind to the general public.
There are still other changes that has to be made to ensure the best possible and most effective service but it is evident that today, the Force sits tall in the saddle.