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Appoint person who can get the job done

Published: 
Saturday, November 4, 2017

The job of the Commissioner of Police (CoP) is to lead and manage effectively and efficiently the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (the TTPS), an organisation consisting of some 6,500 persons in varying ranks, with an annual expenditure in excess $2.25 billion and billions more in buildings, equipment, vehicles and other assets. It is “organised into nine divisions which covers T&T as well as 18 branches, squads and units” and is charged with the responsibility to:

• maintain law and order;
• preserve peace;
• protect life and property;
• prevent and detect crime;
• apprehend offenders; and
• enforce all laws and regulations with which it is charged.

And, under our constitution, the person running this organisation is the most powerful public official in our country. The CoP takes instructions from no one! And, is vested, under Section 123 A of the Constitution, with complete power to manage the T&T Police Service and is required to ensure that the human, financial and material resources available to the service are used in an efficient, arid, effective manner.

Unfortunately, right now, confidence in the TTPS is at an abysmal low and notwithstanding the statistics showing improvement in some detection rates, the populace as a whole is increasingly of the view that violent crime is out of control. So for the office of CoP the targets of “efficiency” and “effectiveness” appear to be elusive. As a consequence, as far as the appointment of a CoP is concerned, the average person in the street has one simple but major concern, ie, can the new CoP inspire confidence that he or she can really get the job done?

So, based on this expectation, this is not a job for those who progress through the selection process to appoint a CoP primarily on the basis of the relevant academic qualifications, interviews and the results of psychometric testing. Indeed all of these factors would be of limited value without years of clearly demonstrated competence in the successful leadership and management of either the whole of or major parts of large organisations engaged in work requiring skills comparable to those required by the TTPS or similar organisation. This is the key and fundamental requirement for success in the job.

If the person selected to be CoP does not meet this standard of demonstrated successful management in/of a similar organisation, then it ought not to be a surprise if the members of the TTPS itself and the population at large would have little confidence that he or she can get the job done. And that would be a disastrous beginning for the new CoP. Failure would be inevitable.

ASHTON S BRERETON

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