Next step in transformation of the Police Service.
That involves tomorrow’s debate in Parliament on a motion to adopt the report of the Police Manpower Audit committee which was headed by Professor Ramesh Deosaran. Debate begins 10 am.
The committee was mandated in 2017 to examine the manpower of the Police Service and the extent to which its strength is meeting major objectives and whether its human resource capacity is sufficient.
Its report, titled “Now is the Time—No Sacred Cows,” was submitted to Prime Minister Keith Rowley last year October. The Police Service was found to be “in a wounded troubled” state mainly because of the complex network of problems facing it and plus continued inability to rescue and recover itself. The Deosaran team felt TTPS reform has to be treated as an emergency—but there’s no magic cure.
In August, debate to approve current Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, the Prime Minister said, “If you don’t want nightmares, or if you want nightmares, read that (report) as bedside reading.” Rowley said one of Griffith’s first tasks should be implementing report recommendations.
The report found:
• Corruption contaminated the Police Service over years.
• When certain police investigations/raids are being confidentially planned, information is “leaked” to targets. Officials said such tip-offs can only come from inside the planning team.
• Officers have been abusing systems, resulting in tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars spent annually without proper documentation and “low numbers of officers available on any given day to do policing—what the report termed “twin disasters”. Overtime expenditure over 2013/2014 to 2014/2015 was $288,864,708.
• Officers finding more clever ways of beating the system to TTPS’ detriment, working “outside jobs” to boost income.
• Many instances where officers on sick leave were found to be working elsewhere or weren’t “really in need of the leave”. One officer submitted sick leave documents for 298 days in 2016.
• TTPS disciplinary system very inefficient, “being abused by many officers. Number of allegations against officers increasing annually.
• Up to December 2016, 3,211 complaints against officers, mainly in Northern/ Southern divisions. Up to February, 2018 largest number of officers suspended on complaints were constables (272) out of 307. These included an assistant commissioner and senior superintendent.
• Highest complaints—misbehaviour in public office, perverting the course of justice, corruptly obtaining money. Biggest disciplinary offences over 2014-15 included unlawful/unnecessary use of authority, discreditable conduct and neglect of duty.
• More than half of 500 police officers surveyed felt TTPS wasn’t satisfactorily organised.
• Over 40 per cent of all ranks/ages of officers stated corruption in TTPS exists either ‘very much’ or ‘much’ with higher proportion of young officers feeling this way.
• Largest TTPS manpower deficits—in E999 Rapid Response Unit, Court and Process Branch, Anti-Corruption investigations.
• Issues not addressed in timely manner.
• Repeated complaints by officers that charges of indiscipline/ corruption drag on for years without resolution.
• One such case was called 55 times between 2014 and 2016 and the officer wasn’t served with summons 41 times. Of the ten times a summons was served, the officer appeared nine, and 30 of the 55 times the hearing was called, the tribunal lacked a quorum.
• Confidential records/files/boxes stored haphazardly with possibility of manipulation.
• Long delays in data entering/storing information in computers.
• More joint operations between police, prisons, army, customs and other security agencies recommended plus improvements in vetting/background checks of all recruits.
• Leave abuses/other such serious human resource problems may require completely overhauling the system.