3.2 MILLION FOR CoP SEARCH
Taxpayers will pay an estimated $3.2 million (TT) to local consulting firm KPMG in its search for a new Commissioner of Police (CoP) and new Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The search has already begun with advertisements of the positions placed in local newspapers from September 4 to 29.
The funding for the search came from the Police Service Commission's budgetary provision for "other contracted services" for financial year 2017. This provision was revised and increased from $2.5 million to $4.55 million in order to facilitate the search for a new CoP.
No one has held the substantive post since 2012, when Stephen Williams was appointed as Acting Commissioner of Police, a position for which he has received 11 six-month extensions since that time.
Williams is expected to apply for the substantive post.
The Guardian understands that last month the Police Service Commission (PSC) contacted the Service Commissions Department regarding outstanding payments for the firm.
The firm has already submitted invoices for several deliverables, including monitoring and evaluation consultancy services to operationalise the new performance appraisal framework for the commissioner and deputy commissioners of police, and a public perception and satisfaction survey of the general public.
The firm is expected to supply the PSC with recruitment process guidelines, job competency models, application forms, feedback documents, prospectus of the Police Service, advertisement of vacancies, list of applicants and a list of eligible and ineligible applicants.
Only this week, the PSC published a vacancy notice for the positions of commissioner and deputy commissioner in the daily newspaper.
•The advertisement said the applicants must possess "a strong work ethic, thrive on challenges, be committed to reducing the level of crime within the country and dedicated to providing outstanding public service".
•It also said the applicants should be proficient in leading and managing large, complex law enforcement organisation with high public visibility.
The last such recruitment process cost the Government a reported $4 million dollars, paid to foreign consultants Penn State university, who were retained by the PSC to assist in the recruitment process.
When the position was first advertised in 2007, it was reported that 41 people applied for the job, four were locals.
The payment of a reported $4 million to Penn State had come under criticism at the time from criminologist Prof Ramesh Deosaran. That same figure was reported as $2.3 million in Parliament hansard by then Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner during a motion to notify the President to approve Dwayne Gibbs as Commissioner of Police. The Guardian has not been able to confirm the actual figure.
Deosaran, at the time, said he believed the PSC needed to be re-examined because the evidence showed that there were “some elements of disrepair and shortcoming” in its operations.
Sources close to prior recruitment searches, who did not want to be named, said $3.2 million was a high price tag for a local firm to search for a local Commissioner of Police.
In August the PSC told the public that KPMG had been awarded the contract to assist with the recruitment and selection process of the CoP.
The release said on July 20, a meeting took place at the commission’s offices which brought together representatives from the Police Service Commission and KPMG T&T to discuss implementation of the project.
The recruitment phase of the project is expected to take four months.
Parliament still has veto power
According to section 123 (2) of the Constitution of T&T Parliament can veto the decision of the PSC and force the search to be restarted.
Under the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Selection Process Order) the PSC must take into account all information on the candidates and thereafter establish an Order of Merit list.
The PSC must then select the highest graded candidate on the list and submit that candidate's name to the President.
If the House of Representatives does not approve of the highest graded candidate on the Order of Merit List, subsequent Nominations in order of merit may be submitted to the House from the Order of Merit List only.
If the Order of Merit list is exhausted, the process must be recommenced.
A brief history of CoP searches
After Trevor Paul retired as Commissioner of Police in 2008, James Philbert, who was the most senior officer in the service after Paul, was appointed to act in the role.
At that time, Acting Deputy Commissioner Stephen Williams, who was the PSC’s nominee for CoP in 2008 after being recommended by Penn State, had been rejected by the PNM in Parliament.
In 2010, during a search under the People's Partnership coalition, Parliament rejected Canadian Neal Parker for the post, citing that he had been part of the evaluation team for the selection of the commissioner in 2008.
The last appointed commissioner, Canadian Dwayne Gibbs was the second-rated nominee on Penn State's evaluation.