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Seales: Cops absent for Carnival can be jailed

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Micheal Seales

While the Police Service is assuring that it is actively probing the circumstances in which 808 police officers either called in sick or were absent from duty during the Carnival weekend, the Police Service Social and Welfare Association has said that apart from disciplinary charges there can also also criminal consequences.

Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon, who spoke in Parliament last Friday, said the majority of officers who failed to report for duty were Special Reserve Police officers, some of whom were not released by other Government agencies which utilise their services as the necessary administrative work was not done.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Deodat Dulalchan, at last Thursday’s police press briefing, reported that 16 per cent of officers failed to report for duty during this Carnival.

Of the 5000 Carnival strength there was an absence of 808 officers.

Last year, there was a 20 per cent absenteeism rate.

Dulalchan said disciplinary action could normally result in a pay cut of a minimum fine.

But the association’s president Michael Seales said yesterday that apart from disciplinary action there were criminal charges which could also be instituted.

Seales said the Special Reserve Police Act specially stated that any member which neglected duty when called out by the commissioner could be fined $300 or be jailed for one month if taken before a magistrate.

“The association is telling persons that is the dilemma the commissioner finds himself in for persons who fail to release persons for those duties,” Seales said.

Insisting that there must be a change in the rostering system Seales recommended that officers who wanted to play J’Ouvert, for instance, could be permitted to do so but must work Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

Regarding the management of the Police Service, Seales urged for partnership with the association to ensure such absenteeism was not repeated.

He reiterated that there be better remuneration packages for SRPs who worked consecutive long hours during Carnival. He said the average pay of $600 after tax for four days was not good enough.


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