The Malta Police Union has ordered its members not to wear their full uniform when carrying out supplementary duties over the force’s failure to authorise police officers to carry out private traffic management work when off-duty.
The decision was taken because the force was having to deal with an increased amount of requests for overtime duties, especially given the increased burden of enforcing COVID-19 measures.
Private traffic management work for third parties was therefore stopped because the need could be catered for by the Local Enforcement Systems Agency (LESA).
After filing a trade dispute last month, the union has now ordered directives since, it said, the matter has not yet been resolved.
From today, all members of the force performing supplementary duty, including extra duty and overtime, are being requested to wear their police-issued t-shirt, baseball cap and ID tag for identification. The full normal uniform must be worn for all other duties.
The union said it was ordering the directives because it considered off-duty traffic management work offered by its members to be “an opportunity for police officers to gain extra income during their off duties”.
“This service is paid by the person or entity requesting the service and is only granted when a police officer is available at the date and time requested. Refusing this service in toto does not make any sense, especially since the administration of the force does not know when the service is being requested,” the union said.
It questioned why police officers should have to “only work forced overtime at Paceville to cater for lack of staff at the St Julians police station and lack of planning for police presence in Paceville, when there may also be other opportunities”.
It added that the force had found the pandemic to be a convenient excuse for its “administrative inactions”.
“First, the excuse was that the service is degrading, not it’s the pandemic and lack of staff, which if these conditions persist, will increase.”
The last time the police’s off-duty traffic management work was in the news was during last year’s traffic police scandal when some 38 officers were arrested.
The officers were revealed to be claiming overtime for jobs they never report for or carried out, though it does not appear that the force’s decision to ban off-duty services is directly linked to the scandal.
Share this with someone that needs to read it