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Police promotion policy poorly implemented – Leacock

Police promotion policy poorly implemented – Leacock


The policy of accelerated promotion or graduate entry to the local police force is not a bad programme, just poorly implemented.{{more}}

This is the view expressed by St Clair Leacock, Vice President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown, on recent appointments of officers in the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).

Among those receiving appointments as officers is former journalist, Hawkins Nanton, who has entered the police force as an inspector.

“There is nothing wrong with persons being catapulted into an officer position, as has happened before,” Leacock said yesterday during the NDP sponsored ‘New Times’ radio programme.

“It is a case where a good idea, or a good concept, badly executed could lead to a poor result and I think this is happening in the police force,” he continued.

And while Leacock said that he did not have a problem with the professionalism of Nanton, he explained that by taking persons with university qualifications, they are short of the core requirements of becoming a police officer.

“So, what you will have is that they will not fit the bill of the organisation,” Leacock explained.

Promotions such as this had the potential of doing harm, he said, in that there were other officers who may have been waiting to be promoted for some time.

And to witness someone come and be promoted would come off as being unfair to such people, Leacock reasoned.

According to the opposition parliamentarian, if it was felt that certain divisions within the force needed to be enhanced, then those positions needed to be advertised, as opposed to giving the impression that the people were being handpicked to fill the positions.

“There may have been 12 to 15 Hawkins Nantons who may have wanted that opportunity,” Leacock said, adding that the impression being given is that the authorities are handpicking who they want.

“And because of the political way things, more often than not, can be assured that the people getting opportunities may be those who caught the eye of the authorities,” he said.

What is needed, according to Leacock, is an officer core where management and leadership skills can be acquired and where the individual’s loyalty and commitment is to the nation.

“And not to a political process,” he continued.

Leacock further explained that the vision of having an officer core where people will be trained for positions in authority within the Force was included in the NDP’s manifesto.

The Force needs to have a leadership core, he said, adding that what happened in the past was that people were promoted based on longevity in the Force and for the few who went abroad for training, they received this training after being appointed to their new rank.

This was to ensure that people understood that to be promoted, they required education, experience and merit.

He contended that the issue was proving problematic for the Force as it has affected members’ morale.

“They need to move with dispatch and put more objectivity into it … they need to put more science into it so we don’t have deterioration in policing in the country,” Leacock said.

Nanton, who holds degrees in communications and public relations, will be assigned to the police public relations department, and is the third person to benefit from the graduate entry policy. The first was 24-year-old Kamecia Blake, who was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Police in October 2010. In December 2011, 25-year-old Avianne Smith was appointed a sergeant.(DD)