It is the height of inanity to direct that a police force employ 50 persons as cadet officers and not have a plan to deal with their advancement through the ranks from assistant superintendent upwards.
Briefly, the situation facing Guyana Police Force over the past four years, is one where having employed fifty young Guyanese aspiring to serve their country as law enforcement officers, the organization is in a quandary as to what to do with them, especially in the absence of a Police Service Commission.
It would be interesting to know what criteria were established which inform the cadets’ performance after some of them would have returned from the Guyana Defence Force’s Officer Cadet Course. It would therefore be manifestly unfair if it was to be determined at this late stage that any one of those aspirants to a police career is unfit to be promoted to the next level, especially if the current system does not provide for ongoing evaluation of their knowledge, attitude, performance, competence etc. It means, therefore, that the cadets must be tasked to develop their conceptual and other skills to deliver, if they are to justify government’s confidence in their capacity to be future leaders.
Notwithstanding the intentions of the government to address this longstanding issue, if there is no monitoring and evaluation of these candidates as the Alex Griffith shooting suggests, then the GPF must be held accountable for a gross dereliction of its duty to ensure that only the best are selected to deliver highest quality service for the safety of the Guyanese people.
In light of organizational politics which arguably reflect the practices in the wider polity, there is absolutely no guarantee that the system to select the favoured cadets for the created positions will be free from bias and other considerations unrelated to professional policing; but that remains to be seen.
But there is another downside to this, with respect to the many persons within the rank of inspector, and who would have had reasonable expectations of being promoted to the rank of assistant superintendent, if not further up the ladder. It is not beyond reason that if the upward mobility of qualified inspectors is affected by the special advancement of cadets; this is likely to result in demoralization at the inspectorate level and below.
It therefore means that to compensate for loss of opportunities, the administration will have to develop in consultation with the Police Association, a mechanism which seeks to address improved job satisfaction and staff morale aimed at improving the overall health, and work life balance of the workforce.
Ultimately, it should be noted, workplace morale rests on each individual, since when they believe they are in a job which deals fairly with issues, they are satisfied. In the case of the police this will help them in their interaction in the communities they serve. Thus it is evident that morale should serve as an indicator when identifying roadblocks to a smoothly functioning police force.
Without wanting to delve deeply into the current imbroglio between the police administration and the Police Wives Association, would it be asking too much for both parties to exhibit some decency and refrain from flaunting their dirty laundry in our faces?
The Commissioner of Police has to exercise some consideration for public opinion, which more often than not questions the seriousness and sincerity of public officials’ words when faced with contradictions in actions. Picking fights with all and sundry is never advantageous for a leader in a high profile position like the office of commissioner; it only serves as a distraction from getting the job done to the satisfaction of all.
On another note, the public could be excused for wanting to know where the patrols were – which proliferate in the Albouystown area – when the recent murder took place over the last weekend.
Flooding a community with police does not necessarily address residents’ concerns if it is not done in a systematic manner and monitored and evaluated for effectiveness. The commitment by corporate citizens through their financial contributions to that initiative is to be commended, but care must be taken that we are not seduced by form which lacks not only substance but just even more importantly, sustainability.
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