Home Affairs Minister Emanuel Mallia wants the Police Academy at Ta’ Kandja to be called Malta Police College. But the change would more than just in name, he emphasised.

Speaking during question time in Parliament, he said it would be just like the university, with professional lectures and training sessions on more effective testimony and prosecution in court. “In short, a place where police officers would feel at home,” he added.

On other aspects raised by various MPs, he said some places in Malta needed more police foot patrols, which had become almost extinct, not only to maintain law and order but also to help the public. Areas that immediately came to mind were Swieqi, with its exposure to anti-social behaviour, Marsa and Ħamrun. Meetings with experts would soon be held to decide on the most needy areas.

There were two schools of thought on whether to have sparsely manned police stations in every locality or rely on greater but rapid intervention. These two schools were being examined.

Dr Mallia said the Rapid Intervention Unit had been a great success, affording more vehicles, police officers and time for training for a better service. Asked about police presence in areas notorious for traffic jams, especially in rush hours, he said he appreciated existing police presence but wanted it to be more effective. Rather than just standing near his motorbike to establish his presence, a traffic policeman should step out and direct traffic especially at roundabouts.

The minister said police officers directing traffic would soon be issued with masks to protect them from the traffic fumes.

On the setting up of a trade union for members of the Police Corps and the Armed Forces of Malta, he said the draft Bill had already been presented to the Cabinet, which was waiting for additional advice from the Attorney General.