IF acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams fired senior police officers based on crime statistics alone, then he should also be fired by the Police Service Commission.
This is according to former national security minister Captain Gary Griffith following the announcement by Williams that he was prepared to fire non-performing officers with, head of the Eastern Division Senior Superintendent John Trim and head of the Inter-Agency Task Force Senior Superintendent Simbonath Rajkumar, formerly head of the Northern Division being given their relevant letters.
Griffith said certain systems needed to be put in place first before firing any officer just based on statistics.
In a statement issued Griffith said: “The recent decision by the acting Commissioner of Police to recommend that two senior officers be fired, is nothing short of a cosmetic knee jerk response to the nationwide demands for the TTPS to improve their performance. Whilst many may welcome such a move, it is more than just being “too little too late”, as I have mentioned this for the last two years, that there has been a reluctance by the Acting Commissioner to press this button, as contrary to what many thought, he has the exact powers to hire and fire as he would have, had he been the substantive Commissioner, so the question must be asked as to why has he not acted in this manner over the last three years, and why only operate in this manner now ?”
He said: “Additionally, if he decides to strictly use data of crime statistics to fire a senior officer by stating that he has not performed, then by the same token, he then should do the honourable thing and also resign with immediate effect, as the buck stops at the top.”
He said senior officers could indeed be fired for poor performance but a specific structure needed to be put in place. Using the New York Police Department as an example, Griffith said: “There were specific attainable goals, timelines, and a structure to measure performance and make officers accountable, because without a proper structure of such, it can lead for these same officers to take legal action against the State.”
Griffith said: “It is hoped that the Acting TTPS Commissioner has a similar system in place before we go about firing police officers without such systems to properly measure performance, and give them the opportunity to address their performance or else it would be the taxpayer footing the bill if the State is sued.”
That was the reason why the pending audit of the police service was critical he said.
The former minister added: “These systems are not simply to fire or demote but also to hire, reward and promote, as this is what would improve performance and lift morale, whilst also taking away the outdated system of promotion being primarily based on seniority rather than performance.”
He added that it was unfortunate that Williams seemed to be targeting only senior police officers.
“One does not need to commit a criminal offence to be made accountable in the police service, as poor management, poor judgment, and poor leadership are factors that can cause a police officer to be fired, at any rank and at any level, so why only target the senior officers ?” he asked.