Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday declared, “The Police Service does not exist to create employment for anybody.”
Rowley said, “You can’t wear the uniform and be a criminal.” He said there must be citizens in the Police Service, “who are worthy of the uniform and the oath of office that they take.”
Rowley also said the average citizen may not understand that every murder case which is going through TT’s courts, “costs taxpayers between $1 and $10 million.”
The Prime Minister made these comments after he received the Police Manpower Audit from Professor Ramesh Deosaran at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre.
Rowley said even before the Cabinet reads the audit at its weekly meeting on Thursday, “the Cabinet is going to make the document public.” The Prime Minister said this would allow citizens to see, “what our Police Service has to do or what has to be done about our Police Service.”
He also disclosed the audit will be going immediately to the Parliament’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security. While Government is prepared to support recommendations requiring a simple majority, Rowley said there may be recommendations which require Opposition support for implementation.
Rowley said the audit was one initiative which both he and his predecessor Kamla Persad-Bissessar agreed was necessary. He reminded the gathering the People’s National Movement gave its commitment to the audit when it was in opposition.
While there is acknowledgement of the rights of employees in the Service and the expectation of those people on the job, Rowley said citizens must understand that the people employed in the Police Service must be able to discharge the responsibilities of the Service. Rowley said he has often spoken with Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams about exercising zero tolerance against people who are unsuitable to be in the Police Service.
He asked how are the police treating with a 40 hour work week and a day and night arrangement. Rowley said one advantage criminals have over the police is they know when they will commit crimes. He said, “ If most of our police are home at night and the criminals are out on the street, we will never have enough police on the roster.”
Rowley said if large amounts of money are paid in overtime to police officers but officers are under-performing in normal time, “you will never spend enough money on the Police Service.”