The process to appoint a new police commissioner began on Friday.  

A call for applications for the position was announced in the Government Gazette on April 24. 

Shortly after taking office in January, Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced that a new system for selecting police chiefs would be rolled out.  

Former commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigned after Abela took office, with his deputy, Carmelo Magri, taking over as acting commissioner in the interim.  

Previously, police commissioners were handpicked by the prime minister.  

According to the new rules, a public call will be made for applications to fill the post.

Applicants will then be screened by a public sector body and people from outside the police force will be eligible for the top post. 

The final decision on the candidate will continue to rest with the prime minister, however, Parliament will vote before he or she is made commissioner. 

The reform had been met with criticism from civil society group Repubblika. 

According to the call for applications, the selected candidate will enter into a four-year assignment as commissioner, subject to a probationary period of 12 months.

The applicants must also be "able to communicate proficiently in Maltese and English". 

They must be "accountable, self-confident, assertive and emotionally intelligent", as well as possess "the right acumen, aptitude, people and leadership skills to engage and motivate the entire Police Force".

The call for applications says that candidates should show evidence of being able to successfully lead a transformational change in the police force.

Effective skills to reduce crime in challenging and changing situations, are also considered a must. 

How the process will work

The Public Service Commission will oversee the call. 

Applications will then be evaluated by the commission, made up of two members nominated by the opposition, two members nominated by government and a chairperson who is also nominated by the government. 

Commission members will shortlist the two most suitable candidates. 

The prime minister will then choose the final candidate, which MPs will vote on.  

The Venice Commission, Dr Abela said, had given the Office of the Prime Minister a veto right on such appointments, but he said he was willing to forgo this. 

 

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