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Inquiry as RIU officers complain of discrimination

Officers with the Rapid Intervention Unit say they are being discriminated against by a superior. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Officers with the Rapid Intervention Unit say they are being discriminated against by a superior. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

An internal police investigation is under way into allegations that officers with the Rapid Intervention Unit are being discriminated against by a superior, the police have confirmed.

The probe was launched a few months ago in the wake of complaints filed by 36 officers who form part of this special unit.

The Rapid Intervention Unit comprises about 150 policemen and is based at the Ta’ Kandja headquarters in Siġġiewi.

Subsequently, the internal affairs unit – an entity within the police force tasked to look into allegations of excessive force as well as breaches in the code of ethics – launched an investigation.

Sources told the Times of Malta that the investigation was coming to a close and the findings would be presented soon. Replying to questions sent yesterday by this newspaper, the police confirmed that the investigation was “in progress” but gave no further details.

Some of them were being overloaded with duties

The matter has also been raised with the Police Officers Union, whose president Inspector Sandro Camilleri yesterday told this newspaper that they had been monitoring the case from the very beginning. He said the union took prompt action on the allegations involving a senior police officer.

“Complaints varied from discrimination on political grounds, on the overtime distribution, leave allotment and that experienced officers were being assigned to cleanse the toilets,” he said.

“RIU officers at Ta’ Kandja also lamented that some of them were being overloaded with duties while others were allowed to pick and choose,” the POU president added.

Inspector Camilleri, however, said that he had received no feedback from the internal affairs unit, on the outcome of the investigation.

Established soon after Labour was elected to government in 2013, in place of the Special Assignment Group which was disbanded, the RIU was also meant to include a SWAT team.

In May last, year a police spokesman had told this newspaper that a group of RIU officers were getting specialised training for such purpose.

Sources who spoke with this newspaper, however, said that the SWAT team had not yet been formed to the great disappointment of those officers aspiring to join it.

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