Thursday, January 18, 2018

Untangle top cop selection process


Mark Fraser

 I am having a hard time figuring out who may be advising the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.  For more than a year we have heard laments from the Police Service Commission (PSC), the Opposition, the business community, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association, a number of legal and management experts and even the bi-partisan Reform Committee of the Police Service Commission that the convoluted process for hiring the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police should be scrapped.  

With such esteemed, and in some cases elected members of our society calling the present system foul, I wonder why is the Prime Minister not addressing this issue.  Rather we the public are provided with excuses by a certain unelected member of the Cabinet who has failed to bring the appropriate legislation to Parliament for its consideration.  

The failure of this Cabinet member translates to a deprivation of opportunity for aspiring and competent members of the Police Service who may apply for these positions,  it translates into a situation where the PSC’s hands are tied sternly behind its back and it translates into holding the nation to ransom for not being able to provide the appropriate management tools for the Police Service. 

I am sure most people would agree that a new CoP and deputies may not reduce crime by themselves, but are we aware that the present situation has caused demoralisation in the TTPS at all ranks? 

We have a situation where the Deputy Commissioners change like clothes every few months and the acting CoP is incapable of planning for the long term.  This situation affects succession, training, recruitment and promotions to name a few. 

As others have stated before, a new CoP would not immediately reduce crime, but he/she would be able to effectively plan for the transformation of the TTPS that is much desired in order to improve morale, reduce crime, increase detection rates and provide the services it is mandated to do.  

It’s time to hear from you, Madam Prime Minister.  

K Bassarath

San Fernando