Sliema’s Mayor is calling for urgent community policing in the wake of the shocking murder of Paulina Dembska in the locality.
“No one expected that in such an open space something so horrible would happen,” Mayor Graziella Attard Previ told the Times of Malta.
“By 2023, all localities should be included in this policing scheme but we are requesting and urging the authorities to introduce community policing to the locality at once.”
“We want the scheme to be implemented, not just in light of this tragic crime but because we wish for other crimes to be avoided and we have noted how the scheme has worked in other localities.”
The community policing initiative was first piloted in Mellieħa to tackle community issues relating to parking or neighbourhood fighting. According to the Police Force, community policing has led to an increase in people’s trust in the police force.
It is set to be extended to all localities in 2023 following several reports of public brawls and acts of violence on Maltese streets. Still, questions have now been raised why more isn’t being done sooner.
Dembska, a 29-year-old Polish national, was murdered on 2nd January at Independence Gardens, Sliema, where she used to feed stray cats. She was raped and strangled, a TVM report has claimed.
Abner Aquilina, a 20-year-old, is being treated as the main suspect. He has since been referred to Mount Carmel Hospital, while police struggle to find any link between him and his victim.
Lovin Malta has revealed how Aquilina told investigators that he was a “soldier from God” and was acting upon the orders of “frequencies” in the lead up to the murder.
Just half an hour before his arrest, Aquilina allegedly appeared at the Balluta Church, which is close to where Dembska was discovered. He reportedly approached the altar and caused a scene, overturning some seats.
The murder has shocked the nation, with many pointing to the country’s long-standing issues with femicide and violence against women as directly leading to these kinds of incidents. However, others have placed further emphasis on the mental health issue in Malta.
Several women have also claimed they were harassed by Aquilina, with Lovin Malta receiving numerous screenshots from messages sent by the murder suspect.
Some have claimed that they even reported Aquilina to the police over the harassment. However, it appears that little action was taken in this regard. Lovin Malta has reached out to the police.
If you or someone you know needs to talk about their mental health, please call national support service 179. Alternatively, visit www.kellimni.com; the Richmond Foundation’s OLLI.chat to get in touch online; or the Kif Int? website.
Should more community policing be introduced?