‘No stone left unturned’ to help victims of crime
The police have countered claims of mistreatment by pickpocketing victims, saying officers always treat people who report a crime in a “humble” way and leave “no stone unturned” to solve it.
The statement comes after two readers of The Times complained they experienced complete lack of empathy by police officers when they reported they had been pickpocketed.
The police were sent questions about both incidents towards the end of October and their recent reply noted the culprits had not yet been caught and the cases were being investigated.
All reported crimes were investigated, including these two, a spokeswoman said, adding that “victims are treated in a humble way by the police”.
However, she added: “Having said this, we are not in any way condoning any treatment as mentioned in your mail.
“During similar cases and all other thefts, the police do not leave any stone unturned. These are investigated and if culprits are apprehended they are charged accordingly.”
Australian Joe Ullianich, who boarded a bus in Sliema with three family members on October 8, was discouraged by how officers handled the “evidence” the commuters had found.
At about 10.40am, four boarded a Valletta-bound bus from opposite the Chalet Hotel on Tower Road. When two young men, who boarded the bus with them, got off at the next stop, his wife and her mother discovered their purses were missing.
They reported the incident at the Valletta police station and later produced their passports at the Sliema police station.
In the meantime, they found both purses (empty) in a bin close to the bus stop where the two men had alighted. They put these in a bag to protect any evidence but, despite telling the Sliema police station officer that there could be the thieves’ fingerprints, he handled the purses with his bare hands and looked inside it, Mr Ullianich said.
He said a young Japanese female tourist who walked into the police station to report her purse had been stolen in St Julian’s was “dismissed in a very terse manner” while the officers showed a lack of empathy towards her.
“She left the station in tears,” Mr Ullianich said.
In a letter about a separate incident, Cynthia Whitworth from the UK said her husband’s wallet was stolen on an overcrowded route bus but the couple were “less than impressed with how we were treated” by the police.
They went to the police station in Qawra and, while the woman constable who took their details “was not actually rude to us, she was clipped and curt almost to the point of rudeness”.
“My husband had a sore throat and had almost lost his voice,” she wrote.
“ Appreciating that he might be difficult to understand because of this, I was trying to help in giving details to her.
“I was told in no uncertain terms to be quiet as it was his loss that was being reported.
“Eventually, we emerged from the police station feeling that we were in some way to blame.”