Two Rapid Intervention Unit officers and a third police officer who had just graduated from Police Academy are expected to be arraigned in court today after being caught with cocaine in a Paceville raid just days before Christmas.
The Times of Malta reported the police officers, who were off duty at the time, had been in a nightclub in Paceville when the raid took place. They were caught red-handed by the Drugs Squad.
One of the RIU police officers that was caught had been a policeman for two years, while the other had been on the force for about a year. The third policeman that was caught hadn’t even been a policeman for a month, having taken his oath of allegiance on December 16th.
Members from the RIU are the only police squad that are permanently armed when on duty.
Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia, who just this week publicly defended a top police official who had allegedly headbutted his partner, was quoted as saying these kind of incidents “saddened him”.
He said that police officers were subject to regular drug tests such as urine tests.
However, one high ranking official was quoted as saying that “this case goes to show what kind of monitoring and due diligence is being carried out among our officers.”
This case comes after a a sergeant was arrested while on duty last September after a search of his locker revealed he had been stealing synthetic drugs from the police station’s lost and found storage.
Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami said that cases like this showed the “disastrous” state that the Malta Police Force was in, and that “many honest police officers are having their work sullied by this sort of behaviour.”
He noted that the Labour party had changed the rules for becoming a police officer in 2013, allowing people with criminal records to become policemen.
Since 2016, 27 people with criminal records had become police officers.