The 1st Police District is being investigated over a racket similar to the one that has brought down the Traffic Section, The Malta Independent can reveal.
Police District 1 covers Valletta and Floriana, part of Marsa and the Water Police.
Four-fifths of the officers at the Traffic Branch have been arrested in connection with a racket involving extra-duty abuse. Officers were pocketing thousands of euro for overtime work they were not actually doing. The unit is also being investigated over the collection of protection money from contractors and transport companies, and for fuel misappropriation.
It is understood that the claims being investigated with regard to the Police District 1 are solely related to extra-duty fraud.
Sources explained that officers who form part of the district, particularly those attached to the Valletta police station, have many opportunities to perform extra duties, including bank and embassy protection, security at cultural events, VIP escort and traffic control related to construction projects and road closures.
The Malta Independent understands that a number of officers are being investigated but, at this stage, it is unclear whether any personnel have been arrested, suspended or have resigned.
Questions have been sent to the Malta Police Force.
The Malta Independent has reported how the Traffic Branch case was uncovered by a whistleblower back in October, but investigations only started in December. Sources have told this newsroom that the unit currently investigating the claims had initially been told to “sit on the file.”
This newsroom has also reported that a witch hunt has been mounted in a bid to identify the whistleblower.
41 out of the Traffic Branch’s 50 officers have been arrested over the racket. The Traffic Branch has been practically dismantled after the scandal, which has seen at least seven of its officers resign in the wake of the bombshell revelations.
Up until Friday night, 25 officers had been suspended. 31 of the officers who were arrested are out on police bail. So far, there has been no word on when the officers will be arraigned in court.
The Police Internal Affairs Unit, which is investigating the racket together with the Criminal Investigations Department and the Economic Crimes Unit, has been inundated with calls and emails of abuse and misconduct in other police sections. These include claims of inaction and failure to take reports by District Police.
It is understood that a number of cases of misconduct have been uncovered as the investigators probe further, with sources saying that several police sections will likely be affected.