Although the position of the Commissioner of Police (CoP) is vacant, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) McDonald Jacob can effectively run the T&T Police Service (TTPS).
That is the view of strategic security consultant Garvin Heerah who explained that the CoP and DCPs oversee the divisional commanders who are in charge of police divisions across the country.
“Outside of being the oversight for the divisional commanders they are given specific TTPS leadership appointments, for example, operations and administration. So, the DCP or the person of rank is expected to function in the absence of a CoP. The role and responsibilities of the command and control of the TTPS should not be affected nor brought to a halt. When you appoint someone to such senior positions you will need them to come with the competencies. In this current situation, is the DCP a police officer with the experience of managing the TTPS? The answer is yes.”
Heerah described the hierarchy of the TTPS as a highly efficient cadre of professionals who are quite capable of managing the business continuity operations of the police service. They have a wealth of experience and invaluable institutional knowledge, that applies to exercising the resilience that is so needed at this time.
Heerah said there are some functions only the CoP can carry out such as administrative functions.
“I will not be able to identify them as there have been changes in the span of management and control but acquisitions and expenditure is one of those functions. It is keen to note also, that before any expenditure reaches the desk of the CoP or any other head of security for sign off, there are meticulous checks and balances with thorough due diligence protocols that are exercised,” he explained.
According to Heerah, the CoP is the accounting officer of the TTPS.
On the likelihood of lawsuits against the office of the CoP because of confusion and misunderstandings, he said this is addressed in the Police Service Act which states that in the absence of a CoP there is someone in command who will address matters relates to the office of the CoP and the TTPS.
“We should be looking at the position and not a person,” he said.
President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Gideon Dickson said the DCP cannot sign off on firearm users licences, promote or convene the promotion board, discipline officers, or sign off on salaries and overtime.
To overcome any possible negative consequences, the authorities must move speedily to appoint a new CoP, he said.
“Administratively this must be addressed with haste and urgency because if it is not, it will result in administrative mayhem.”
In a media release late yesterday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert confirmed that DCP Jacob was appointed the accounting officer for the TTPS effective October 15. The appointment was done in accordance with Section 2 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, Chap. 69:01 and Regulation 3 of the Financial Regulations.
Jacob was confirmed by the Parliament in his substantive position of Deputy Commissioner of Police in April.
—With additional reporting by Charles Kong Soo