of third commentary on the Constitution Reform (Amendment)
protect and serve
its first and second commentaries on the Constitution Reform
(Amendment) Bill which were published respectively on May
11 and 12, (Express) and June 22 (Guardian), the Police
Service Commission stated, after detailed analyses, that
the bills proposed political thrust, was inimical
to the functioning of an independent body or authority.
The commission also noted that the structure and functions
of the proposed Police Management Authority involved little
practical difference from those of the present Police Service
Commission and observed that there was therefore no need
to amend the Constitution, as proposed by the Constitution
(Amendment) Bill, in order to confront pervading crime in
The commission concluded that pervading crime should be
addressed through a number of measures detailed in its second
commentary. The commission undertook to develop these issues
subsequently and now does so in a third commentary.
The issues are examined against the backdrop of meetings
and exchanges with a wide cross-section of national stakeholders
over the past ten months.
Special attention is paid to responses gleaned during the
recently concluded Outreach Programme (first phase) to the
Police Service between February and April 2005, during which
the commission was able to interact with all divisions of
the Police Service at the various divisional headquarters
This outreach programme which was unprecedented in the history
of the commission, sought to:
extend the collaboration of the commission to police officers
collectively and individually
establish the commissions presence as an active constitutional
agency within the larger purview of the police function
define more clearly the constitutional responsibility of
the commission and establish an ongoing mechanism for dialogue
between police management and the commission.
The programme was fully supported by the Police Social and
Welfare Association, the commissioner of police and senior
management of the Police Service, who all participated actively
throughout the programme.
These areas covered:
recruitment and probation
performance appraisal and promotion
training and on-the-job supervision
absences and shortages of uniforms and crime-fighting gear
dilapidated police stations
non-strategic location of new police stations
absence of an effective employee assistance programme
pervasive shortage of vehicles
deficient technology for surveillance and detection of criminal
uncompetitive crime-fighting equipment.
The discussions revealed many areas of concern and dissatisfaction
in relation to:
career advancement, mobility and conditions of service
administrative practices and decisions and
critical management operational deficiencies.
The commission is aware that these troubling areas are not
new. Indeed they are long-standing. However, the commission
is persuaded that unless urgently addressed, the problems
outlined will have the following consequences:
irreparable damage to morale
attitudinal and operational indifference in performance
misuse of office and public distrust
internal conflict and
ultimate inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
In spite of these wide-ranging challenges, the commission
perceived a mood of expectation among many police officers,
a disposition to courageous self-criticism, open admission
of the incidence of corruption within the ranks and a willingness
to collaborate, in improving the image and performance of
the Police Service.
This is an encouraging mood which can provide an effective
basis for enhanced management of the police function.
The several troubling areas outlined above are not all within
the purview of the commission. Indeed, many of them are
not. The responses of the commission will accordingly be
Early attention to those matters for which the commission
has constitutional responsibilityrecruitment, transfer,
appointment, promotion, discipline and the enforcement of
standards of conduct.
Early referral to the national government of those matters
pertaining to the government as employerterms and
conditions of service, standards and requirements of labour
and industrial relations and operational requirements for
effective job performance.
Active collaboration with national agencies and relevant
associations in respect of areas that span mutual jurisdictional
competenciesconditions of recruitment and probation,
examinations, training and criteria for transfers, appointments
This collaboration is critical to the proper discharge of
the commissions constitutional responsibilities which
implicitly requires that the commission be satisfied with
the quality, conduct and performance of the personnel which
it is required to recruit, appoint, promote and discipline.
There is need, therefore, to address the jurisdictional
gap between the managerial and the management
function. In this regard, the commission proposes to ensure
that quality personnel become a standard feature of the
The commission believes that this approach, which addresses
such basic imperatives as quality recruitment, quality appointment
and promotion, enforcement of proper conduct and effective
and an expeditious disciplinary machinery, is critical in
the fight against crime.
It proposes to have this approach implemented in the shortest
possible time, after due and appropriate consultation.
This approach will constitute only one dimensionquality
police personnelof the overall requirements of an
integrated national response.
Attendant and cogent responses must inevitably involve structured
community involvement at the widest and deepest levels,
through citizens awareness groups, active and strategic
partnering by the private sector and all responsible stakeholders,
enhanced police credibility, improved police/public relations,
sustained civic and social educational programmes, an effective
employee assistance programme and, in particular, assertive
In a subsequent commentary, the commission will inform of
the mechanisms it has put in place and its perceptions of
the required national responses as informed through its
earlier and continuing outreach initiatives.
Christopher R Thomas is the chairman of the Police Service