Stephen Williams’ response to the escalating murder and crime rate is to stop extra duty work for police officers.
A directive from the acting Commissioner will affect both senior and junior officers. Especially as Carnival is fast approaching and when police officers are needed in large numbers for certain events.
Extra duty is work given to the police to provide security to private entities at events. Citizens pay the Police Service for the hiring of police officers. They are allowed to use police vehicles, uniforms and firearms in carrying out these duties.
In an unsigned warning advisory issued to all nine police divisions on Wednesday, officers were told that with immediate effect, “extra duty must not be performed at any store, grocery, bar, club or at any other business places during the Christmas period, 2017, as instructed by the Commissioner of Police on Tuesday 5 December, 2017. Also, persons who paid money for extra duties must be refunded as soon as practicable and notified in writing of the aforementioned instructions.”
It further stated, “You are therefore warned that failure to comply with this instruction would result in disciplinary action being instituted against you.”
Stations were told to advise business owners to hire private security.
On Tuesday, acting National Security Minister Stuart Young said there would be an increase in law enforcement activity in the build-up to Carnival 2018 in light of the recent spike in murders.
But Police Association secretary Anand Ramesar is not supportive of officers getting extra duty. He said the officers’ lack of ability in managing their resources properly as part of the reason they have to rely on extra duty. Ramesar suggested Williams provide a platform for officers to access financial training to better manage their monthly incomes.
He said the association is aware there is a higher demand for officers for patrols during the Christmas season and given the current surge in murders, he believes it is necessary to increase police presence.
He added, “A policeman’s entire time must be available to the police service. If there is a competing interest between the strategy of the police service and the need for a citizen to have extra duty, then the needs of the police service must override that need for extra duty.”