Community ReportEditorialNews

OP-ED: Junior police ranks should take force to court

Additional reshuffling within police takes effect today

Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie

Calvin Brutus did what many officers only talked about doing, ie to challenge the Police Service Commissioner.

If all goes well, senior officers will no longer have to worry about a string of letters (many of which sometimes fail to hold water) being placed into their personnel files a month, weeks or days before promotional consideration commences.

It should be noted that once you have a pending matter before the Police Service Commission or at the level of the force administration, you are not eligible for promotion until that matter is concluded and findings with recommendations are handed over to the Commissioner of Police or Service Commission.

But is not only the senior officers who are affected by this practice of letters flooding their personnel file, junior ranks are facing this problem too.

There are many officers who prevent junior ranks from being promoted by also writing them up and giving them charge sheets, sometimes for matters which the junior ranks are not even given the right of reply.

According to the Standard Operating Procedure of the force, departmental and disciplinary matters are to be completed within a certain time time.

Any matter which is not investigated and concluded with a report within that time frame should be discarded off and that rank or officer cleared for promotional consideration.

What obtains presently in the force is this; a number of matters against officers and ranks that should have already been completed are still pending way past the time-frame for them to be tried and concluded with recommendations.

What is happening however is this, although these matters are pending way past the guided time-frame for them to be completed, those ranks and officers who are the subjects of those investigations are still being regarded as having pending matters.

You cannot logically have a pending matter against you when the time-frame according to established guidelines has expired. Once the date has expired, the matter should be closed and the rank or officer should be clear and eligible for promotion like everyone else and as if a matter was never there in the first place.

You cannot punish or penalize the subject of the investigation for the lethargy of the personnel task with investigating and completing his or her investigation within a timely manner. It’s like being in jail on remand waiting for your matter to call while your freedom is taken away.

If that practice is not covered in Calvin Brutus matter or touched on by the courts, the junior ranks should also move to the courts.