Criminologist Professor Ramesh Deosaran got it all wrong when he said that no civilian should head the Police Service. With morale low in the Police Service and with little trust from the general public, a civilian can be the saviour with the escalating murder and crime rate.
Deosaran said the Police Service Manpower Audit Committee (MAC) flatly rejected the idea of any civilian ever becoming Commissioner of Police. In other words, the committee is against former Minister of National Security, Gary Griffith, becoming Commissioner of Police.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) is now wrapping up their recruitment and will send the name to the President within days.
Griffith is among the persons being interviewed for the post of Commissioner of Police which has been vacant since July 2012.
The last Commissioner was Canadian Dwayne Gibbs. Since then, Stephen Williams has been acting as Commissioner.
The Manpower Audit Committee was asked their views to improve the management and oversight of the Police Service (TTPS) by a Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security chaired by Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds.
Committee member attorney Allan Meiguel said the TTPS still has its traditional quasi-military culture, adding, “That is perhaps what is keeping it afloat at this moment.”
Another member, Deputy Commissioner Harold Phillip was predictable when he said, “Internationally, appointments from people outside the police service have not been successful.”
Deosaran urged the PSC which oversees the naming of a commissioner and deputy commissioner should become a full-time body expanded from five to seven members and disconnected from the Director of Personnel Administration (DPA), or be replaced by a Police Oversight Board supplemented by a ground-level Police Inspectorate.
He also defended the MAC’s proposal for the public to elect a CoP. “It creates a greater obligation for the CoP to respond to community concerns, a direct form of accountability.”
Deosaran wondered how the wheels of the TTPS are still turning given low public confidence in the police. Guy-Obiakor said lack of trust in the police is notable in Tobago where boatloads of marijuana and Venezuelans illegally enter, yet residents are afraid to testify in the law-courts.
Deosaran said the TTPS Human Resource Unit is “in disarray”, prodding the JSC’s Independent Senator Paul Richards to ask how the CoP could function.
DCP HAROLD PHILLIPS