The second most senior post in the police force is empty. It’s the job of the cop heading all centralized police units which means crimes and issues that are above the pay grade of your local beat cop.

The incumbent, Alexandra Mamo, is quitting, by all accounts, in tears.

No one wants her job. When they published a call only one application came in and it was withdrawn before the selection process was done.

Not one of the dozens of assistant commissioners, superintendents, and other lower ranking boys and girls in blue wants the job.

The position of senior police officer is, by definition, a rare and difficult vocation. Having said that though, it’s never been a position no one wanted to fill. At least someone from within the entire force could be expected to have the relative ambition of rising in rank and proving themselves capable of what is, no doubt, a difficult responsibility.

Someone needs to tell us why this republic is finding it so difficult to have a Deputy Police Commissioner to work for it. I can speculate and I wouldn’t be pulling things out of thin air.

Firstly, Angelo Gafà is an impossible boss.

Secondly, the failure to prosecute political criminals is deeply institutional and even the most willing police official cannot shift the weight of impunity alone.

Thirdly, it is hard to start a fresh chapter when the stench from the previous ones poisons the air so thickly.

And yet, it’s still the function of the force, the government department that backs it, the minister, and the entire government to put right a wrong situation. We’re not hearing anything from them. We’re not hearing anything about mitigating incentives, about improved resourcing, about an inter-institutional commitment to act on findings of investigators.

What we hear instead is the callous silence of a government that is much better off with a vacant desk than a police officer with the will, the authority, and the moral courage of getting them into serious trouble.