Cops back minister’s call for more promotions; says it is demotivating
MEMBERS of the Jamaica Constabulary Force yesterday lauded Security Minister Robert Montague for his call for “deserving officers” to be promoted, after noting that there is a real issue of officers being overlooked for promotion that needs to be addressed.
The officers who supported the call by the minister for Police Commissioner George Quallo and the Police Service Commission (PSC) to promote officers, or to give reasons for the lack of promotion, agreed that it was unfair and demotivating to have officers waiting for years to be promoted.
One constable, who said has been in the force for 21 years and has not been given a promotion, although he had passed the exam and was recommended for promotion to corporal, hailed the minister call as “good news”, especially now when a number of officers are demoralised and are unhappy with their treatment in the force.
“One of the strategies of the force is to enhance the professionalism and staff morale of the officers within the force, but that is not being exercised, so I hope this announcement might help to change things,” said the constable, who requested anonymity.
A sergeant who has been in the force for 36 years and had to wait 11 years for his promotion from corporal to sergeant also welcomed the call by the minister, noting that several officers who had served with distinction and had selflessly given of themselves for several years left the force without being promoted or at a low rank.
He pointed to a former colleague who he said served the constabulary for more than 40 years but retired as a corporal.
“He spent most of his years as a corporal and don’t know why he wasn’t promoted, the sergeant.
When asked if he knew what was behind the reason for the lack of promotion the officer said: “It’s all about who you know and who know you; some people do nothing and get promoted, meaning they don’t go on the road, and those who go and get things done are overlooked, and sometimes people say them recommend you and they didn’t, and sometime people have something against you and don’t come to you and say it, so you don’t know.
Additionally, he said: “There is a real vexing issue because you find that some of the police officers that just join the force have more senior ranks that those working for years.”
But, while the sergeant was happy that the minister is focusing on the issue, he said, “I don’t think he did it in the right way. He should have met with the commissioner and the PSC in a meeting and find out what is the issue.”
However, while some officer were happy with the call, not everyone was.
A constable who has been in the force for four years but is unhappy with how the forces operates said he does not believe that the call for promotion will make a difference in improving staff morale as there are a number of issues to be addressed including being overworked and underpaid.
Further to that, he said a number of police officers are not interested in applying for promotion as they are more concerned with leaving the force, himself included.
The minister, in a press release yesterday, cited a number of vacancies in the force — 85 position for assistant superintendent, 11 for superintendent, 10 for senior superintendent, 64 for inspector, 46 for sergeants, and 152 for corporals.
The minister said that the Government has provided the money to pay for promoted officers and questioned why no wide-scale promotion was occurring.
“Since the past 17 months there has been no broad-scale promotion. Persons have sat exams three times and more plus have satisfied the requirements and cannot be promoted. Why? What is the reason?” he asked.
“I am calling on the Police Services Commission, chaired by Professor Gordon Shirley, to promote deserving police menand women. If they are not deserving then do not promote them, but a number of vacancies are available and this Administration has the money to pay them.”
He also called on the commissioner, who is responsible for promoting rank-and-file officers, to do so immediately.
“I am calling on Commissioner Quallo to update and upgrade the promotions policy to make it more transparent, merit-based, and easily understood. It is within the commissioner’s remit to promote 152 constables to corporals and 46 corporals to sergeants. Promote them now or state why they are not being promoted,” he said.
With the JCF currently facing a high attrition rate of 500 police officers annually, Minister Montague said, “This cannot continue. It is unfair, it is not right, and something must be done.”
“It is a shame that these men and women who put their lives on the line every day cannot reap the benefits of a promotion,” the minister added.