Activist and Partit Demokratiku MEP candidate Camilla Appelgren has urged the Maltese police to improve their privacy practices for victims reporting crimes at police stations.
Appelgren recounted her discomfort when reporting two separate crimes to the police and being asked for details in the reception area, right in front of other citizens.
“While filing the report, I had other people around me giving their ID numbers and full names as well as ongoing discussions about the crimes they have done or the victims’ stories,” she said. “I though it was maybe unlucky to have this situation twice in a row. But I’m afraid not.”
Appelgren said many people, particularly women, have told her they don’t report crimes, including of domestic violence, because they feel uncomfortable and insecure due to this lack of privacy.
In fact, this is one message she received:
“G/ morning Cami, I’m putting my poll msg privately as not to hurt xxxxxx feeling if xxxxx read this… I had to go every month to report my ex xxxxx for my over due maintenance monthly money .. In the end I stopped and told myself I rather go without because it was getting to be so embarrassing having to speak up in front of everyone .. It wasn’t the first time I asked if I could speak privately and they made it even worse by saying it’s not on.. They made me feel like I was the one in the wrong and always left the p/station with a beetroot face and wished the floor would swallow me up.”
“As a woman, environmentalist, politician, mother and whatever, this topic touches me on a personal level,” Appelgren said. “I went through a situation long time ago where I was in distress and had to report this abroad and I took a ticket and waited for my turn. People around me didn’t know if I was there to report a stolen car or if I was a witness to assault. I was anonymous. Inside the room with two policemen I could cry in peace and tell them the full story without fearing that anyone would know about what happened to me.”
“This was essential for the police to get full details, this was essential to me as a woman/person to feel secure, this was essential to the society to be encouraged to report crimes,” she continued. “I urge the Malta Police force and the Police Commissioner to see to this urgently.”
“I don’t care if there is little space, you make space,” Appelgren finished. “We are talking about lives here. Not soulless bodies.”
Lovin Malta has reached out to the police to confirm their privacy policies.