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Top cop speaks of his shackles in Police Service

Published: 
Thursday, July 31, 2014

In the spirit of tomorrow's commemoration of Emancipation Day, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has said that there are "numerous shackles" placed on him as head of the Police Service and there may be need for him to liberate himself from some of them to allow for the effective functioning of the organisation. Speaking at an event held by the T&T Police Service, titled Reparation—Righting Historical Wrongs, at the Police Administration building, Port-of-Spain, Williams said he was “taking some level of freedom to be a bit contentious” while speaking on the themes of emancipation and reparation.

He said: “To be contentious, I would say emancipation has meant for me that I must take all that was made available to me and make maximum use of it. “The sky is the limit and if I continue to box myself with the perception that what has gone in the past amongst to permanent shackles for my growth and development, I will be doing myself a major disservice." He spoke about the Constitution (Amendment) Act and the Police Service Act of 2006 which he said were amended "to provide the commissioner of police with what is referred to as complete power to manage the human, financial and material resources assigned to the organisation." 

Williams said despite that amendment, there were still limitations on the power of the commissioner of police, including restrictions on his ability to send officers abroad for training.
He added: "Then there are numerous shackles placed on the commissioner of police that he cannot even send an officer who is identified by him and the organisation for a training programme anywhere beyond Tobago. “Emancipation signals to me that I will have to take some level of freedom around that and change the course of direction for the organisation if the constitution so provides. “Well emancipation may mean that I may not sit at the helm of the organisation for much longer by taking strong positions like those."

He said emancipation in the context of the T&T Police Service meant that every employee must identify all that he or she could do to ensure that the organisation delivered high-quality policing service to all citizens and that could only be achieved if every employee recognised his or her value within the organisation.