Not so good men
Job applications to the Royal Barbados Police are turning up people who test positive for illicit drug use, says Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin.
In an interview with the Sunday Sun, he associated the problem with abuse across the country, including in the nation’s schools.
“We have started to require polygraph examinations for persons who come to [the police force] as potential recruits, and what has been revealed is that a significant number of people have experimented with the use of drugs.”
There is a legal requirement for the police to have a full complement of 1 528 officers, and as such, Dottin said, there were vacancies for about 80 officers that had come through resignations and retirement.
“To keep the force fully staffed is quite necessary, but we have been finding that we don’t get the number of candidates that we require. Given the prevailing economic circumstances you would believe that persons would take the vacancies, but that has tended not to be the case,” the commissioner said.
“It is a matter that we have discussed with our ministry . . . . What you are going to see over the coming weeks is that we will go on a high-powered recruitment drive. We are going to be in a very public way identifying the positions and careers that we offer in the force.”
Dottin also said there was a difficulty attracting young people because they were not prepared to endure the stresses and dangers associated with policing.
However in his inducement to young people to join the force, he pointed out that a police career could be exciting and that there were various areas in which the police officer could exercise any special skills he possessed.
At the same time the commissioner acknowledged “there is an element of risk involved, an element of social disruption in your life because we work shifts, and that has tended to be a turn-off for young people”.
Explaining the level of resignations, Dottin said: “People don’t want to spend 30 to 40 years in one job. There is a great rush for self-improvement, for people to make themselves more marketable.
So police [officers] are undertaking tertiary studies and as soon as vacancies become available they move on.”
Dottin suggested the administration had to look at “its internal processes and career streams”, as well as “appropriate inducements from Government”, in interesting people in law enforcement – and keeping them there.