2,800 officers cant be promoted due to absence of CoP

Police Social and Welfare Association president Inspector Gideon Dickson says the absence of a substantive Police Commissioner has left the careers of almost 2,800 police officers in limbo.

The office of Police Commissioner has been vacant since October 14, when Justice Nadia Kangaloo declared the appointment of Gary Griffith as acting Commissioner of Police null and void. Deputy Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob was acting in the position while Griffith was on leave in the weeks before Justice Kangaloo’s ruling. His appointment was also voided and he returned to his position as DCP.

But without even an acting Commissioner Dickson yesterday told Guardian Media hundreds of officers cannot be promoted. And with no Police Service Commission (PSC) in place, there is no timeline for the appointment of a commissioner either.

“Presently, we are in a very precarious position. That is to say, based on the strategic operation of the organisation, promotion from the rank of corporal to sergeant was supposed to take place from October 1 this year, where we have 496 eligible officers for 217 vacancies, that has been placed on the shelf,” Dickson said.

He said officers have been preparing since mid-year to go through the final stage of the promotion process. Dickson said there are 2,223 constables who are eligible to be promoted to the rank of corporal and 680 vacant positions waiting to be filled.

“We had the issue rolling into this period where the Ministry of National Security was responsible for appointing someone to sit on the board. That request would have been made in and around July/August of this year and the ministry only appointed that person last week Monday, so now we are in readiness, but there is no Commissioner of Police. The sum total of that is that you have approximately 2,800 officers that are affected on the operational level and that is not a very good place to be at this time,” Dickson said.

He said an acting commissioner would have been able to approve the appointments and called on those in authority to get their act together.

“We are calling to the authorities to rise to the occasion and do what is required for us to have at least an acting Commissioner appointed while the process for the selection of a Commissioner of Police plays out itself,” he said.

Dickson also spoke on the issue of morale, saying officers need to be commended for their efforts to keep the country safe while still working on 2013 salaries.

“That extrinsic value in which salary could assist officers in terms of meeting their day to day responsibilities, coupled with the fact that inflation continues to rise and that we are almost three trimesters out in relation to salary, it has placed police officers’ morale in somewhat of a precarious position and it is one that could be addressed, the authorities just have to be willing to address it and understand the importance of what the officers bring to the table.”

He said citizens need to also understand the value of police officers, as many officers are frustrated with the institutional woes of the TTPS. He acknowledged there was room for improvement among the ranks but once again called on authorities to step up and fix those anomalies.

“We have also realised that our workload continues to increase and our leave has been restricted, so you must commend officers in this period in our history for their dedication and commitment to duty because it is only so much they would be able to continue in this vein,” he said.

Dickson said the controversy over the Police Service Commission and its selection of a commissioner has impacted greatly on officers, noting the matter has taken on the air of a general election campaign, including the libel and slander on social media platforms of potential candidates.

“The association has no issue with persons supporting who they want to become the Commissioner of Police but everything must be done within the context of the law. To hide behind social media and to hide behind supporting groups and making reckless and demoralising statements that are attacking the character and career of officers, we are saying that must stop,” Dickson said.

He said if anyone has credible information about any officer’s wrongdoing, he or she should make a report to the relevant bodies assigned to investigate officers. He said there is a criminal element to these cyber attacks.

“To be going behind social media and defaming officers’ characters, we are also seeing it bordering on criminal libel and also carries a heftier penalty and the association will be supporting our members who have fallen prey to this kind of attack and presently we are seeking counsel to address these matters in the shortest possible time.”

He said when these officers are attacked on social media, they cannot speak out in their own defence.

Guardian Media contacted acting National Security Minister Stuart Young for a response to Dickson’s statements but there was no response to messages sent to Young up until press time.


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