NO END is in sight in the search for a substantive Commissioner of Police in this country, Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Prof Ramesh Deosaran has said.
In fact, the process to find one has not started.
On August 7, 2012 the last substantive Police Commissioner, Canadian Dr Dwayne Gibbs, served his last day in office.
Stephen Williams, whose substantive post is Deputy Police Commissioner, has been acting as Police Commissioner since July 31, 2012.
At the end of this month, Williams’ second six-month acting appointment is scheduled to end.
It is anticipated that he would be given another six-month extension.
Williams yesterday met with the PSC at its head office at the corner of Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and Pasea Main Road in Tunapuna.
Since last year Deosaran has complained about the bureaucratic nightmare that surrounds the process of filling the post of Police Commissioner. He continued his complaint yesterday.
PSC member Martin George said in this country it is easier to select a Chief Justice, President and even Prime Minister than to choose a Commissioner of Police.
One of the first hurdles to be crossed in the selection process is the Director of Personnel Administration (DPA) advertising for a firm to be chosen to conduct the assessment to choose a Police Commissioner.
Some 16 months after the post of Police Commissioner became vacant no suitable firm has been found to undertake this task.
“So far the firms that applied have been found not suitable. The DPA now has to invoke a further exercise to get a suitable firm,” Deosaran s aid.
“The hiring of a commissioner is way down the road so far,” he said.
The PSC has written the DPA to get the reason why the firms were deemed unsuitable. The firms that fell short of the required standards included local, regional and international organisations.
Because of this delay Deosaran called for reforms to be made to address the process.
He said the issue of succession planning in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service also needs to be addressed.
Deosaran said the PSC, which is responsible for assessing the performance of the Police Commissioner and the three deputies, should also have its mandate expanded to include assistant Commissioner of Police.
“We need jurisdiction over the ACPs to plan ahead to see who should rise to the top in a deserving manner and not purely on seniority,” Deosaran said.
Deosaran said the Cabinet was written on the issue last year and he is now “waiting anxiously” for something to be done.
“The acting appointment (of a Police Commissioner) is very inconvenient, very uncomfortable but it arises because the legislative framework does not give the (Police Service) commission the power and the administrative capacity to recruit and hire a commissioner with the expeditiousness that the public requires,” Deosaran said.
“That is the kind of reform we have been pressing the Government and the Parliament to provide us so we can serve the public interest in the proper way the constitution require us to do,” he said.
Deosaran said the PSC was being blamed for the delay in selecting a Police Commissioner which is a “misguided view”. He called on citizens to “sympathise and support” the PSC’s appeal for the reform.
George said correcting the process would be for the good of the country not just now but for the future.