In the lead up to a Papal visit to Malta, members of the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Valletta, Malta, leveraged the embassy’s Law Enforcement Working Group (LEWG) to provide training to Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Malta-Valletta Chapter members and Maltese law enforcement. The LEWG is a collection of U.S. law enforcement agencies that partner with Maltese law enforcement in training and investigations of mutual interest, in support of the embassy’s strategic goals.
Agents from the U.S. Secret Service’s (USSS) Rome Field Office led a portion of the training in which they taught OSAC members and Maltese police how to conduct event security and protective detail advance visits. The training included an information session with OSAC participants, in which the USSS agents provided new information about VIP protection. The session was not only educational, it provided valuable networking time after a two-year pause on in-person meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USSS also trained the Malta Police Force’s (MPF) Special Intervention Unit (SIU) on close protection and motorcade operations. The SIU is Malta’s premiere law enforcement tactical team whose duties range from counterterrorism, to serving high-risk warrants, to close protection—to include positions on U.S. Embassy Malta’s ambassador’s protective detail.
Prior to coming to Malta, the Rome-based USSS team capitalized on their contacts and proximity to the Vatican by engaging the Pope’s protective detail. The Pope’s gendarmes gave the USSS team a comprehensive report on their recent advance visit to Malta and areas they wanted the MPF to review. Then, with the help of U.S. Embassy Valletta’s regional security office team, USSS agents gained access to venues for the upcoming visit and gave the MPF officers detailed and specific recommendations for what will be one of Malta’s most high-profile visits since 2010.
RSO Valletta enjoys a close working relationship with the MPF. This training stands to strengthen LEWG-MPF cooperation and RSO-MPF relationships, while building Maltese capacity in a critical mission set.