Police Commissioner John Rizzo said today that he did not want to be brought into a situation where policemen did not obey his orders, claiming that the orders fell outside their job description.

Mr Rizzo made his comment during an activity organised by the GWU which discussed trade union representation for the police. He said he had made his assessment on the basis of his experience with civilian employees in the police force.

The commissioner spoke at length on how the working conditions of the police had been improved over the past few years, and said that work shifts were recently changed. Referring to a judicial protest for the payment of overtime, Mr Rizzo said there were differing views over whether that overtime was actually due.

Other speakers at the seminar included PL deputy leader (and former superintendent) Anglu Farrugia and PL spokesman for Home Affairs Michael Falzon, who said they agreed with trade union representation for the police, but disagreed that policemen should have the right to strike.

They argued that the police should have collective representation and could possibly be able to take some industrial action but they should not have the right to walk out from their duties.

There was no government representation at the seminar, although the minister, Carm Mifsud Bonnici, had been invited to attend. The Home Affairs Ministry said the minister had informed GWU general secretary Tony Zarb, before the activity, that he could not attend because of another engagement.

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