Saturday, December 16, 2017

Four senior cops face ‘retirement’ requests

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AT least four senior police offi­cers are expected to be served with letters this week, signed by acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, urging that they retire from the organisation for failure to perform.
Sources told the Express yesterday that the decision by Williams on Tuesday to request the resignation of Snr Supt John Trim of the Eastern Division and Snr Supt Simbonath Rajkumar of the Inter Agency Task Force had caused a feeling of unease in the First Division of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) as it was “one of the first of its kind” in the organisation.
As a result, officers in the First Division—which includes policemen and women between the rank of Asst Supt of Police (ASP) and above —are expected to hold a meeting this week to discuss how this new action would impact the service.
The officers are expected to meet under ASP Mohammed, who looks out for the interests of the First Division officers who form part of the TTPS Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA).
While the Express was not told when or where the meeting would take place, sources said the association had been made “keenly aware” of the concerns of its membership, and this meeting was expected to take place by the end of the week.
This was “especially crucial”, the Express was told, as senior officers had received good intelligence that at least four more officers are expec­ted to receive similar letters given to Trim and Rajkumar.
While the names of the officers were not disclosed, the Express was informed that a well-known ASP and a senior superintendent were being appraised.
Both Trim and Rajkumar have sought legal representation in this matter and are expected to respond to the letter within the next four days.
Rise in crime 

Rajkumar was served with a letter dated January 9, signed by Williams, which highlighted increases in serious crimes—including murder and kidnappings—for the period he was in charge of the Northern Division before his transfer to the Inter Agency Task Force.
In the letter, Rajkumar was told under Section 74 (b) of the Police Service Act No 7 of 2006, he should retire from the TTPS at the instance of Williams.
A similar letter was also served on acting Snr Supt of the Eastern Division John Trim on the same date.
“I have carefully observed that you have not made any significant contributions towards the Police Service improving its performance in 2016. You led the Northern Division for half of the year 2016, with that division achieving the following adverse results in comparing 2016 with 2015 performance,” the letter read.
The crime increase percentages were outlined to Rajkumar.
The figures showed there was an increase of 250 per cent in kidnappings, 114 per cent in murders, 81 per cent in woundings and shootings, 61 per cent in burglaries and break-ins, 41 per cent in robberies, 36 per cent in larceny dwelling house, 32 per cent increase in serious crimes and three per cent increase in general larceny.
The letter stated Rajkumar was invited to submit in writing to Williams within seven days of receipt of the letter, “any representation that you may wish to make as to why you should not retire from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service at the instance of the Commissioner of Police”.
Williams also pointed out to Rajkumar that a person who retires at the instance of the commissioner shall be entitled to all his retirement benefits, including gratuity and pension.
Attempts to reach Rajkumar yesterday proved unsuccessful.
Praise for top cop 

Meanwhile, Williams has come in for high praise from the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce for his decision to ask non-performing senior police officers to retire.
In a statement yesterday, the chamber described Williams’s move as a “step in the right direction”.
It said it firmly believed if similar measures were to be initiated throughout all public institutions, “the effects would make a huge difference in the way we do business in Trinidad and Tobago”.
“It is with great interest that the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce notes the still unfolding events within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, regarding two senior police officers who were asked to retire owing to non-performance.
“In an unprecedented move, at a time when the overwhelmingly high crime rate and its devastating effects
remain our biggest challenge in T&T, the action taken by the CoP can only be hailed as a step in the right direction,” the chamber stated.
It added: “The T&T Chamber wishes to go on record as being in full support of any move that effectively holds our police officers, and by extension all public officers, to account in the performance of their duty.
“Until and unless we foster a culture of positive work ethic and productivity across all our institutions, we will continue to find ourselves throttled by inertia and ultimately accomplishing very little or nothing at all.”

—with reporting by Leah Sorias