Cops, soldiers not the same
I have sat in the background for too long, just watching every Tom, Dick, Harry and Jane who knows nothing about security become a security expert or consultant, but I cannot watch my country which I have served go down the drain fast in a hand-basket.
In all my years as a police officer before retiring, I never heard about more craziness as "precepting soldiers". I sometimes sit back and wonder if members of the current Government, with all the educated or so-called educated people it has on board, don't sometimes lay in bed and think about what is good for my country.
A soldier is trained differently from a police officer. He is trained to kill and fight against external aggression from outside forces, whereas a police officer is trained to dispel internal aggression in civil society.
To precept a soldier would require:
(1) Classroom work, teaching him or her about the laws of Trinidad and Tobago;
(2) Teaching him or her what the various ingredients are that constitute the various crimes;
(3) Knowing which station district to take a suspect to when one is arrested by a soldier;
(4) After arresting a suspect, reporting to the sergeant or inspector, on arrival at the station district, what crime or offence was committed.
(5) Knowing how to process a prisoner by report writing in the station diary, writing up the copy of the charge, writing up the various crime books, notice to prisoner, the recording of statements from witnesses, and more importantly when and which crimes you may need a justice of the peace to authenticate a statement;
(6) If the senior is not satisfied (believing the evidence reported to be too weak to support the charge) and the suspect has to be released, who will continue the investigation?
(7) How to prepare a case file for court.
(8) How to put his evidence together in the witness box when giving evidence.
When a soldier makes a wrongful arrest, who will be made to pay compensation? These are just a few of the problems with making a soldier a police officer. The training just doesn't match up.
Also keep in mind that the President is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
Most police officers retire at age 50, which is the optional age for retirement, and when they leave they have nothing to do, unlike the Army which usually takes back interested members in volunteer service, My Path, Civilian Conservation Corps or some Army-run programme.
It takes hard work and devotion to duty for a police officer to become versed in his or her job. Why not just take back interested retired police officers who are already trained in policing?
Denis W Durity