Professor: Take care of cops
Joel Julien firstname.lastname@example.org
PROF Stephen Mastrofski, who taxpayers paid $80 million to transform the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, suggested that an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) for police officers be shelved.
So said criminologist Prof Ramesh Deosaran, in a telephone interview with the Express yesterday.
Deosaran made the statement yesterday as he warned that President Anthony Carmona’s call for psychologists to help police officers deal with their daily dilemmas, should not fall on “deaf ears”.
Deosaran gave his comments as a criminologist and not as the current chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
On Saturday Carmona said police officers are in mental and emotional pain and need psychologists to help them deal with violent crime and prevent them from bending the rules of law enforcement.
Deosaran, who was awarded the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at the national award ceremony, applauded Carmona’s statements.
He said in this “confrontational” time greater care needs to be taken for the “physical safety and psychological well-being” of police officers.
“This (addressing the psychological well-being of police officers) is a matter that needs attention. There was a time when we were moving to establish an EAP, which would have helped cater for the problems that president raised but the Mastrofski team did not look to kindly on that,” Deosaran said.
“The time has come to revive that EAP and not only clinical psychologists but you need a cadre of counsellors, including stress reduction counsellors who do not operate only when a fatal shooting takes place. It should be an ongoing exercise to ensure officers are psychologically fit and mentally prepared,” he said.
Deosaran said while doing a Human Resource project at the TTPS he found out that the EAP which was “well established” was “sidelined” because of the Mastrofski recommendation.
Mastrofski was hired in 2005 by the then Patrick Manning-led People’s National Movement administration to support and evaluate the transformation of the TTPS.
Deosaran said the TTPS is in need of a holistic cleansing.
“This psychological cleansing must take place alongside the other challenges of how to tackle corruption in the police service. It will do well with cleansing on all sides,” Deosaran said.
He lauded the talks between the government and opposition to address the country’s crime problems.
Deosaran said the Westminster system generally causes division because it calls for the setting up of an Opposition.
He however described the civility being displayed by both parties in the joint crime talks as a “political override”.