EDITORIAL: A career made worthy for the cop
WE COME BACK to this matter of police recruitment, if for no other reason than it was not first raised by Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin. For years commissioners of police have been voicing their concerns about the seeming lack of interest of young people making policing a career choice. They have all recited the number of vacancies; the few good applications received; the poor quality of the applicants.And with all that has been the observation of insufficient inducement to pursue a career in policing. The criticisms have included the unattractive salaries, the high risk associated with the job, and the slow rate of promotion. Of course, it has not been entirely so in the case of the last reference in recent years. Thanks to a more liberal study leave policy, many officers have been able to attend the Cave Hill Campus, thus qualifying themselves for quick advancement.Whilst the opportunity to secure a degree from the University of the West Indies without quitting the job and maintaining full or part salary must be an attractive proposition, it is unclear whether a career path for such employees is operational. It may well be that this could be a contributor to those qualified officers, particularly in law, opting at a convenient point to leave the service.In many large businesses and the military worldwide, it is not unusual to have a cadet scheme which allows well qualified applicants and potential “high-flyers” to undergo a rigorous training schedule, successful completion of which entitles a select quota to proceed to senior positions/ranks. It is unknown whether such a scheme exists in the Royal Barbados Police Force. Elsewhere, it is known that all ranks of the police force are entitled to housing allowance and other perquisites which serve to make their emoluments, particularly at the lower end, more attractive than other sections of the public service. We have allowed ourselves to be bogged down by maintaining, as far as possible, equality of pay according to grade across the service.When one considers the recent comment of Commissioner Dottin that tests of applicants have revealed use of illegal drugs, this is not only perplexing but causes one to wonder whether some of our youth may have slipped through the net and the level of relationship which may continue to exist with other users outside of the force.And so the question where do we go from here? How discerning is the detection mechanism used? Does it cover an applicant who may have discontinued use say one year prior to making application? We raise this question since, after recruitment one could revert to use, albeit in a controlled manner? In the event small portions of marijuana are legalised, what will be the position of the force?The leadership of our constabulary and the Government must put heads together for the betterment of this career dedicated to the protection of citizen and country. A tall order, but that behoves us to act now.