Saturday, February 29, 2020

300 Suspended T&T Cops Still Being Paid

Trinidad Guardian:– Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith is look­ing to clamp down on the long list of of­fi­cers serv­ing in­def­i­nite sus­pen­sions due to crim­i­nal charges not­ing the state is pay­ing some $50 mil­lion an­nu­al­ly on these of­fi­cers.

He re­vealed his plan dur­ing a Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee deal­ing with the ex­pen­di­ture and in­ter­nal con­trols of the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) for the fi­nan­cial year 2018-19 at the Par­lia­ment build­ing yes­ter­day.

“We must nev­er see the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice as be­ing an av­enue where you can ben­e­fit from be­ing in­dis­ci­plined,” said Grif­fith, who con­firmed that over 300 of­fi­cers were on sus­pen­sion with pay de­spite fac­ing crim­i­nal charges.

He said some of the of­fi­cers had been sus­pend­ed with pay for al­most a decade but due to le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions these of­fi­cers can­not sim­ply be dis­missed from the ser­vice.

“We have in­tel­li­gence (which) can give the po­lice ser­vice the con­cern that a po­lice of­fi­cer should not be in the po­lice ser­vice be­cause he is a breach to na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty. You can sus­pend him but you can­not fire him be­cause that same po­lice of­fi­cer now will take you to court and show me the ev­i­dence that (you have used) to fire me,” Grif­fith said.

He said when tak­ing in­to ac­count salary pay­ments and le­gal fees sur­round­ing these cas­es, over $500 mil­lion had been paid in re­la­tion to the sus­pend­ed of­fi­cers over a 10-year pe­ri­od.

He point­ed out that while the state was bear­ing these costs, many of these of­fi­cers have since used their in­def­i­nite sus­pen­sion pe­ri­od to find oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties while still on the TTPS pay­roll.

“Some of them we have al­ready con­firmed, some of these of­fi­cers have mi­grat­ed. Sev­er­al of them are work­ing else­where and get­ting dou­ble salary.

“So my in­ten­tion is for those who have been sus­pend­ed in­def­i­nite­ly, we need to ver­i­fy whether we have enough in­for­ma­tion to war­rant a tri­bunal,” Grif­fith said, not­ing he was at­tempt­ing to ad­just the le­gal sys­tem with­in the TTPS to al­low for the dis­missal of these of­fi­cers through a tri­bunal in a time­ly ba­sis.

“Each and every­one we in­tend to deal with and fast track, to en­sure that po­lice of­fi­cers would ei­ther be brought back to du­ty, the sus­pen­sion would end or they are sus­pend­ed with a spe­cif­ic time­line as to how long the sus­pen­sion would be or they would be fired,” said Grif­fith.

“There are sev­er­al in­stances as well where there is enough in­for­ma­tion based on the tri­bunal that can war­rant that po­lice of­fi­cer be­ing fired.

“This will en­sure po­lice of­fi­cers are aware that there are con­se­quences. There will be con­se­quences for your ac­tions and you can­not try to beat the sys­tem and find loop­holes in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

He said grant­i­ng of­fi­cers con­tracts was an op­tion which could be used to root out tru­ant of­fi­cers.

Grif­fith said this ad­just­ment would bring some bal­ance to man­pow­er con­cerns with­in the po­lice while al­so re­duc­ing costs in­curred by the po­lice ser­vice an­nu­al­ly.

“This is in fair­ness to the cit­i­zens, to the po­lice of­fi­cer and to the po­lice ser­vice.

“It is in­ap­pro­pri­ate that you have a sys­tem of 300 po­lice of­fi­cers in just 7,000 that are on sus­pen­sion in­def­i­nite­ly,” said Grif­fith, who re­vealed that the TTPS was in debt of $47 mil­lion as it was still pay­ing bills from the fis­cal year 2017 -2018.

“We have re­cur­ring ex­pen­di­ture.

“As at this time, we have not re­ceived any­thing for fis­cal year 2018/2019, apart from the salaries.”



    Absolutely nothing wrong with ridding the Police Service of ‘…Rogue Cops.’

    However, seems that this Commissioner might be reckless not to apprise himself of a few things.

    Why would a Commissioner’s focus be placed on what the State pays to Cops in breach of discipline.’

    They are not ‘…benefiting from indiscipline.’

    What he might be advised to do is to see that the ‘…Wheels of Justice turn expeditiously and efficiently.’

    Not sure from what background he came, but he might be short of comprehension of a few things.

    Good luck Commissioner; Good luck the modern ‘…Com-slinger, ‘…Gary Cooper.’

    He first must look at what control mechanisms he has in place to address matters of indiscipline in a timely manner.’

    He must also advise himself of the universal, and presumably, the ‘…Constitutional presumption of innocence.’

    Sure that the law provides for ‘…Suspension at possibly ‘…half pay.’

    He must also know that they are still members of the Police Service.

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