Tackling organised crime
It is always a shock when incidents such as the one that took place in St Paul’s Bay last Monday hit the news.
Car bombs, unfortunately, have not been rare occasions in the last years, and yet each time a person gets killed or maimed when a car is blown apart by an explosive device, the first thought that comes to mind is the extent that some people go for vengeance. As The Malta Independent reported on Tuesday, we’ve had at least 15 cases of Mafia-style murders or attempted murders taking place in Malta in the last decade. It is not a small number. It is clear as crystal that there is something beyond other ordinary crime occurrences that is taking place in Malta.
This is not to say that we have not had murders in the past. Not at all. But they were sporadic, single incidents that were isolated from each other. What has been happening of late and the modus operandi leads many to think that organised crime has reached new
levels. The similarity in the way incidents have taken place do not necessarily mean that there are links between them, but it surely raises suspicions that those investigating them need to look into.
Yet the police have not been able to solve any of the recent string of incidents, whether the car bombs or other gruesome happenings. And so the question arises – is Malta’s police force well-trained to deal with this kind of crime? Has it sought assistance from other police forces in Europe who have been dealing with such situations for a longer period of time? Is the instability we have had in the police force over the last three and a half years – with five police chiefs in such a short span of time – giving the corps the direction it needs to tackle these types of criminal offences? Are the police dedicating enough time and resources, or are they taking it all in its stride, shelving cases at the first opportunity?
There is another thing to worry about, and this is public safety.
The latest incidents show that the criminals behind them do not give two hoots if they cause collateral damage so long as they attain their objective. Their intention is to reach a target, but they do not care if others fall victim to their crime. So far, Malta has been “lucky” in the sense that no other people apart from the intended victims were killed. But last Monday’s car bomb, which took place on a busy street, where other people, including tourists, were driving or walking moments before the explosion went off, should be an eye-opener.
If, God forbid, an innocent bystander is unintentionally hurt or even killed the next time something like last Monday’s incident in St Paul’s Bay takes place, the collective peace of mind would be shattered.
The police must use all the resources they have – and they should be given more – to fight organised crime. We cannot continue to take such matters lightly.