Former Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois, has asserted that direct interference by politicians in the operations of police forces is a challenge that law enforcers may have to confront on the national level.
Francois was addressing the opening session Wednesday of the intercessional meeting of the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA).
The theme of the session at the Palm Haven hotel was:‘ How can the CFPWA overcome the challenges of political divisiveness.’
According to Francois, a level of political involvement with the police is acceptable, as politicians are invariably answerable to the electorate.
“The problem, in my view, is when this involvement reflects in areas of obvious interference, such as who the Commissioner should promote and who he should transfer,” the former top cop declared.
He explained that what is required to surmount this challenge is a clear definition and understanding of roles.
“The minister must understand that his role is to provide policy direction for the Ministry, which includes the police, whilst the role of the Commissioner is to operationalise the policy,” Francois told his audience, which included National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis.
(Section of audience)
He expressed the view that open and frank lines of communication may also go a long way in dealing with the area of role conflict.
“In a practical sense, the Minister would be responsible for obtaining funding for the resources needed by the police and the role of the commissioner is to ensure that the resources allocated are efficiently utilised,” the former police chief observed.