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Nizam: Don’t go abroad to select next CoP
The process used to select a police commissioner must be revisited because it is too costly and time consuming, former chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed has said. He also urged that the post not be advertised internationally as has previously been the case since there were many competent local senior officers to fill the post.
The process is expected to begin within the “next couple of weeks” a source from the commission said yesterday. During the last selection process, the Justice and Safety Institute of Penn State University was contracted at a cost close to $3 million by the State to carry out the selection of police commissioner and deputy commissioner of police.
Mohammed said taxpayers could also expected to shell out another couple million again when the process begins. He said once applicants are shortlisted, the Prime Minister then selects from the lists and the proposal then goes to Parliament for debate. That entire process could take between six months to a year, Mohammed suggested. An advisory would then be sent to the Police Service Commission, he added.
Political scientist Dr Bishnu Ragoonath said while he believed the applicants should not be limited to local or regional applicants, he urged however that the playing field be levelled. Ragoonath said the feedback he received from senior officers was that many felt stifled and described their jobs as ‘dead end.’ “If we continue to bring people in from the outside the senior local officers saw themselves as being cut off from the position as assistant police commissioners,” Ragoonath added.
He said he believed that was sending a wrong message to the senior executive members of the Police Service as their expectation of elevation would only up to a certain point. “I think the posts of commissioner and deputy police commissioner should be extended internationally but I believe the criteria should be revisited.
“The foreign applicants would have different qualifications, experience and educational backgrounds. There needs to be some sort of balancing out as to determine what qualifications need to be required,” Ragoonath added. While he welcomed foreign applicants, Ragoonath said the post of police commissioner should be reserved for locals. “It must be a position reserved for locals and judging people on their own merit and ensuring we get someone to carry the agenda forward,” he added.
Due to the nature of the Police Service, Ragoonath said it was also important that the selected head must also command the respect and the support of the rank and file. “If that is not happening then we are already starting off on the wrong foot,” Ragoonath warned.
No support if Williams fails—Association
President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Anand Ramesar is sending a clear message to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams that he would not be supported if he fails to perform. He said while the association has thrown its full support behind Williams, the acting top cop would be evaluated ‘like every other commissioner.’
“At the end of his five months we would be assessing Mr Williams’ performance and if he does not perform we would make our recommendations just as we would have with previous commissioners. “Mr Williams is the best man to head the Police Service right now and when we access him we hope we would prove us correct and we would not have to change our position,” Ramesar added.
He said while he also believed a local was best suited to fill the role of police commissioner, he would not limit the post to local applicants only. “Locals are best poised to do the job as it relates to culture of the country and the Police Service but we still need to look at the wider pool.” On the issue of Williams’ indecision on applying for the top cop post, Ramesar said that was a personal decision.
Association members and Williams are expected to meet today to discuss several issues including speeding up the promotion process for officers.
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