CoP: No mercy for AWOL cops

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

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