Police officers who fail to show up for work on Carnival Monday and Tuesday without a valid reason will be reassigned from their units and face disciplinary action.
The warning came from Police Commissioner Gary Griffith after he made an assessment of the “great” turnout by members of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) on Carnival Monday.
In a release issued on Sunday, Griffith warned any officer who abandoned their post for the two-day festivity without a good explanation would have to report to the Police Training Academy on Friday to meet with him personally.
“Each and everyone (officer who did not work) will have to explain to me what was their reason for it. There will be a disciplinary hearing for all these officers. If you going to do the same thing on Carnival Tuesday it will be double jeopardy for you.”
Of the 7,000 officers in the TTPS, Griffith said 5,800 were rostered to work, the majority of which showed up for duty which he praised them for.
Up to late yesterday, Griffith could not say how many had not reported for work.
Last Carnival, it was reported that 808 officers failed to report to work. Griffith said no disciplinary action was taken against them.
“If they do not do it (work) I will be reminding them what is the priority to be a police officer.
They will all be reassigned from those units. You can’t just abandon your post on a situation like this and expect business as usual the very next day. It will not happen.”
Griffith said some officers wilfully neglect their duties on critical days “to moonlight to provide security” for somebody or someone else which he would not accept.
He said some officers are not required to work in uniforms on a regular basis.
“But some of these officers feel they have reached the point where nobody could tell them to wear a uniform again so they would deliberately set themselves absent.
Based on my research this has been going on for years and nothing has been done.”
Griffith said the shortcomings in the TTPS “was that there have not been consequences for those actions.
There is a difference with an officer going sick from going absent.”
When an officer wilfully shies from his responsibility, Griffith said it affects the TTPS’ security plan, citizens and their fellow officers.
“This is not a situation of selling a hot dog or barbecue in a booth in St James.
This is national security. When you abandon your post I would take it very seriously.
There is no way I can be flexible on a matter like this.
“The big stick method will come out.
There is no excuse for such irresponsible behaviour.
They need to understand there are consequences and they would learn it the hard way.”
An officer who wilfully stays away from work can be denied a recommendation for promotion or get a blemish on their record.
“There are other disciplinary actions that can take place,” Griffith said.
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali