Associated with this claim has been the argument that too many police officers are being allowed to engage in “second jobs” that have greatly impacted their ability to deliver quality service in their crime fighting responsibilities. It is also said that some officers have called in sick, reported late or simply do not show for work, because of fatigue from their so called part time employment.
If one is to follow the discussion in the national community, it would become obvious that sentiment is split. There are those who hold the view that given the harsh economic times and the low salaries paid to police officers, they should be allowed to have second jobs, provided this does not impinge on their core policing responsibilities.
On the other hand, many others are adamant that officers with double jobs could compromise their duties as law enforcement agents.
Now the discussions have moved from the streets of public discussion to the seat of the Prime Minister, who recently had his say on the matter.
What has now emerged from the debate and according to the Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, police officers in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force can indeed have second jobs, but the regulations state clearly that permission must first be obtained from the Commissioner of Police.
Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas explained however that the regulations also state clearly that such second job must not be providing security services.
Unfortunately though, this is the main area where most police officers have acquired their second employment opportunity.
The Prime Minister said during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.” “Yes policemen can do another job but they cannot provide security services as a second job, but they have to get permission from the Commissioner of Police in doing this.”
He pointed out that it is not that the present Commissioner of Police is instituting new regulations.
“The regulations have always been there. The regulations have had the input of the Legal Department, the Executive Branch, the Parliament and the Police Welfare Association. There was full and total comprehensive discussion with the police themselves at various levels. What you have as Police Regulations are what have been agreed upon and inserted into the document with full support of the police,” said Dr. Douglas.
In response to a caller Dr. Douglas reiterated “The regulations simply say there is a procedure that has to be followed if police officers are to do a second job. The regulations are not saying that police officers cannot do a second job at all. People are mistaken here. The regulations are very clear that for police officers to do second job, there is a procedure to be followed and the procedure is that you must apply to the Commissioner of Police and the circumstances would be detailed – the type of job, the hours, etc and based on those details, the Commissioner would grant or not grant permission to do a second job.”
“It is either that we want have a country and a police force that is disciplined or we want to have one that is indiscipline. We are the ones who keep talking about law and order in our society. How then can some members of the public speak negatively about an area which calls for discipline within the police force?
“How could anyone not be in agreement that the police themselves have agreed to the procedures to be in place? It is a little ridiculous and those again who don’t seem to have the facts are just wagging their tongues. We need to understand what the facts are. We need to understand the background information. We need to understand there are procedures in place. We need to understand that this is nothing new that is been done by this Commissioner of Police. Former Commissioners of Police have tackled this problem. Some of them have been ineffective,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said that his Government is sensitive and know that the cost of living is challenging and people would want to do a second job.
“The government is not against that. What the government is saying is that (police) have to go through the regulations and police cannot do a second job which is providing security services because that is in serious conflict,” said Dr. Douglas.