Griffith: Commissioner's letters a knee-jerk reaction to crime

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 10:15

Former Minister of National Security, Gary Griffith is describing the letters sent by the commissioner of police to two senior police officers, as a knee-jerk reaction to the crime situation.

Griffith issued a statement today, following the disclosure of the letters on Tuesday.

"The recent decision by the acting Commissioner of Police to recommend that two Senior Officers be fired, is nothing short of a cosmetic knee jerk response to the nationwide demands for the TTPS to improve their performance.

Whilst many may welcome such a move, it is more than just being “too little too late”, as I have mentioned this for the last two years, that there has been a reluctance by the Acting Commissioner to press this button, as contrary to what many thought, he has the exact powers to hire and fire as he would have, had he been the substantive Commissioner, so the question must be asked as to why has he not acted in this manner over the last 3 years, and why only operate in this manner now ?

Do as I say but not as I do

Additionally if he decides to strictly use data of crime statistics to fire a Senior Officer by stating that he has not performed, then by the same token, he then should do the honorable thing and also resign with immediate effect, as the buck stops at the top.

There is indeed substance to fire Senior Officers for poor performance, and one can refer to the turnaround of NYPD under Mayor Giuliani and Commissioners Bernard Kerik and Bill Bratton, where Officers in command of Precincts were indeed fired. However, there were specific attainable goals, timelines, and a structure to measure performance and make Officers accountable, because without a proper structure of such, it can lead for these same Officers to take legal action against the State.

An example of such was at the NYPD, where one Senior Officer in a New York Precinct, via COMSTAT [ Computerized Statistics], demonstrated that serious crime was increasing. He was, as a result, pulled in and asked what was required to effectively respond to the increase. He stated that he needed more manpower and it was provided. Three months later, crime continued to increase in his precinct, and he was again asked and given a second warning letter, he then said he needed more vehicles and this too was provided. On the third occasion, after checking COMPSTAT, he was fired and sued the State and lost because the NYPD had an airtight case.

It is hoped that the Acting TTPS Commissioner has a similar system in place before we go about firing Police Officers without such systems to properly measure performance, and give them the opportunity to address their performance or else it would be the taxpayer footing the bill if the State is sued, which is why the pending Audit of the Police Service is critical , which should include systems to measure performance and make all Officers accountable, and these systems are not simply to fire or demote but

also to hire, reward and promote, as this is what would improve performance and lift morale, whilst also taking away the outdated system of promotion begin primarily based on seniority rather than performance.

It is also very unfortunate that it seems that the Ag Commissioner has only seen it fit to target Senior Police Officers.

To improve our Police Service, it takes more than just finding one or two scapegoats and firing a few at the top.

One does not need to commit a criminal offence to be made accountable in the Police Service, as poor management, poor judgment, and poor leadership are factors that can cause a Police Officer to be fired, at any rank and at any level, so why only target the Senior Officers ?

* What about the Officers that held our country to ransom by having Day of Total Policing, which was really a day of Total stupidity? Why have they not been fired ?

* What about the several Officers who all abandoned the security of the previous Prime Minister at her home, with the ridiculous excuse that they were all sick when they breached the ultimate security rule of not leaving your post unless properly relieved? Why have they not been fired ?

* What about the few officers who affect the image of the whole Police Service when they verbally abuse law abiding citizens in road blocks for no reason, or refuse to provide their ID number when asked, or fail to respond to a distress call in the required time?

What is needed is proper leadership at the top, and by a Commissioner who would be prepared to understand that you need to lead by example, which includes finding systems to properly measure performance and make all officers accountable, including the Commissioner himself ."