A police officer who is currently enrolled at a full-time university course has explained how he manages to balance the demands of his job with those of a full-time university course.
The officer, who is remaining anonymous, reached out to Lovin Malta after a group of currently suspended traffic officers warned of a scandal involving high-ranking officers who attend law school during work hours.
“Many officers attend full-time university courses, not only in law, but also in courses like criminology and psychology,” he said. “Speaking for myself, I have never skived from work.”
“Our roster gives us four days in and two days off, and the two days off often fall on weekdays which means I can attend lectures during my days off.”
“I also make use of half day leave and time in lieu to attend lectures in the morning and afternoon. Planning out my days strategically allows me to attend a full-time university course in my free time.”
Moreover, he said that that even when he takes half a day’s leave, he often ends up working for longer hours than his stipulated 8:30am-5pm shift.
“On paper, I’m supposed to work from 8:30am to 5pm but I often leave work at around 8pm and sometimes stay as late as 1am. Please note that we aren’t paid overtime but have an allowance system, where we are paid a set amount of money for extra hours worked regardless of how many extra hours we work.”
The officer said his job and his course do clash sometimes, in which case he follows the call of duty and skips his lectures, but that overall he manages to balance his time well.
He denied ever using a police driver to escort him to university in a police car and leaving him waiting outside for hours at a stretch until he finishes his lectures, a practice the traffic officers have warned some high-ranking officers carry out.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if the allegations are true, but if so then it’s the exception and not the norm. If it’s true, then I condemn it wholeheartedly, because we should show respect to all officers, no matter their rank.”
Despite managing his time well, the officer urged the incoming police commissioner to regulate the way police officers attend university, such as through a flexitime scheme which had been initiated by former police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit but which was later shelved.
“We’re not asking for much, just for a system that will incentivise us to get more qualified and tie us down to the police force for a number of years after we graduate,” he said. “I’m not taking this course because I want to leave the police force but because I love the force and want to improve my skillset so I can do my job better.”
Cover photo: CMRU