On the heels of the news that several senior officers within the police service will soon be proceeding on vacation leave with crime levels high, Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher says the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is seeking to mitigate the risk and the liability of excessive vacation leave entitlements, in some cases three years.
As as result, they have implemented a policy by scheduling leave for police officers on a phased and controlled basis.
However, she said, officers on leave will remain available to be recalled if the circumstances so warrant.
In a media release on Thursday, Christopher said, “Officers proceeding on leave may occasion the transfers of officers in some instances to fill vacant positions. The Administration assures that all transfers will be made prudently and with the objective of ensuring the best fit of officers to deliver the maximum results in the positions they are assigned to.”
She said, “The administration of the TTPS wishes to assure the public that it remains acutely sensitive of the level of policing that the current crime situation warrants, and that its anti-crime initiatives will not be compromised by officers proceeding on leave.”
Christopher said the process was being effectively managed, both in the short and long-term interest of the service, and the safety and security of the country.
She said the recent supplementation with members of the Defence Force will provide an additional capacity to support the maintenance and intensification of the anti-crime operations.
“We see this initiative of leave management as a crucial and necessary investment in improving our overall performance and look forward to having our reenergised officers resume duty to assist us in taking the organisation to a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness in our battle against crime,” she said.
Christopher said the TTPS was in “an untenable situation” of having many officers working continuously over very extended periods with excessively high vacation leave entitlements. She said in many cases extended in excess of two and some cases three years.
“This situation is detrimental to both the officer and the organisation as it presents the potential for issues related to health and welfare and work-life balance and possibilities of diminishing returns for the officer and loss of efficiency and effectiveness in operations for the organisation and is simply not a viable position,” she said.