Thirteen Special Reserved Officers (SRPs) attached to the Police Transit Unit have written to Police Commissioner Gary Griffith requesting a transfer out of the unit, citing various financial and workplace challenges.
Letters were sent to the Commissioner in November and again on January 10, listing the names of all the officers, their service numbers and phone numbers.
Letters were also sent to the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security,
"Dear Mr Griffith," one letter said, "I, (number and name omitted) along with the following officers are currently attached to the Transit Police Unit (TPU). We are kindly requesting re-assignment to any available units/stations within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. We are available at your convenience at the following contact numbers."
The officers say they were not reinstated to their job in October after complaining about their conditions and tells the Commissioner, "we have families to feed".
The SRPs say that having worked at the Police Transit Unit for three years, they have encountered many challenging tasks.
"Our salary is $5,300 and we get a $1,000 duty allowance. We asked for a raise of pay and OLEP (Office of Law Enforcement Policy) negotiated with the CPO for a $300 pay increase which up to this day hasn’t been given to the workers. Our duties are considered as having the same risks as other police officers and when told of being unfair, we were told that we are not police officers but were hired to work at Transit," the letter to the PS said.
The officers, however, are rejecting the categorisation of "civilians", given that they wear the police uniforms and are entrusted with police firearms.
They state in the letter that several of their tasks put them in the possible line of fire.
"Officers at Transit Police Unit are called upon to do many risky jobs, such as exercises on the Beetham and in Laventille. We are told that we have nothing to cover us if something is to happen off the bus route," the letter states.
The officers say that although they were often left without vehicles and had to carry out foot patrols and complain about unacceptable working hours and conditions.
The letter also complains of poor treatment to two female SRPs who were pregnant.
"All we ask is for a hearing, someone of authority to help us," the letter states.
Commissioner Griffith is currently out of the country and could not be reached for comment.