You would assume that police officers, especially those fighting financial crime and investigating very resourceful criminals would be paid a decent salary for obvious reasons. Police officers do a dangerous job whilst those investigating resourceful criminals face very formidable opponents. It is obvious that the members of the state who would be entrusted to fight crime would be well cared for and well supported, with decent salaries so as to strengthen their passion, make them work harder, and put them in a financial position where they would be less prone to switching sides with their adversaries.
Note, for example, how recently, a prosecutor working at the Attorney General’s office was literally threatened by the accused. There are more Hollywood movies about heroes than there are actual individuals who would pursue their passion for justice by risking their lives for a miserable salary. The reality is that you get what you pay for, and paying miserable salaries to police officers will only attract the most incompetent and illiterate to the job. On the other hand, honest police officers who are skilled enough to work elsewhere with better salaries, stay on with the police only because it is their vocation, but this shouldn’t be the case. A properly functioning police force should have well-trained and well-skilled police officers with decent salaries – yet this is not the case with Malta’s Police force and this is undoubtedly the fault of the Police Commissioner who should have had enough time to turn around this decrypt situation.
So, I went back into a reverie of my older life and started looking for information in my memories. Some government agencies offer very high salaries to their employees to attract skilled workers from the high-paying industry they are related to – for example, the Malta Gaming Authority. Checking the actual salaries at the Malta Gaming Authority from its Annual Report of 2021, the average salary of an MGA employee is around €38,170. That’s not bad for a government employee in Malta, and pretty sure that it is much higher than the average salary scale of the civil service.
Now, what kind of salaries do police officers have? The police are on the same salary scale as the civil service and the amounts are ridiculously low. Let’s take a look at the salary of a police constable, one of the lowest-ranking members of the police. The salary is below the average Maltese salary of €20,000 per year.
If you are a single individual living by yourself doing this kind of job for this salary in Malta, you probably live a difficult life, unless you live with your parents, but even then, you won’t be able to afford the minimum of luxuries that that criminals you are trying to catch, enjoy on a regular basis. Kind of bizarre that the police are humiliated in this way. Of course, I am not saying that a police officer should be richer than Christian Borg (his wealth was accumulated by crime), but a police officer should be able to least afford a life of dignity that enables them sort of independence.
Next, let’s check the salary of a police inspector – a high-ranking police officer who would be in charge of investigations, potentially even investigations of money laundering and big financial crimes. So, basically, the police inspector would have to be paid for being the face of a dangerous mission and combating potential adversaries who can literally afford to hire out men to kill you, bribe or defame you, etc…
As you can see, the salary is also ridiculous for the kind of job and level of skill one needs. This is also a salary slightly less than what a senior manager gets at the National Book Council. If we are to compare with industry standards, a police inspector would be the equivalent of a senior executive fraud analyst at a payments company, or an executive of a private security company. After all, this is why MGA have those salaries because they compare themselves to industry standards. So, why isn’t anyone doing the same with the police?
This is purely an administrative matter that could be addressed very easily, so I am very confused at how no one in the administration has ever addressed this issue. Of course, Angelo Gafa is not stupid and he knows that these salaries do not attract the brightest to his force. The only reason I could think of why the top leadership and the political class would never address this issue is that they, honestly, don’t want the brightest to join the police so the police force remains dysfunctional and incapable of resolving complex financial crimes by politicians and their associates.