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Dear Editor: The hangman never left; the problem is the inefficient Police Service

“Billions of dollars have been spent on the TnT police service (TTPS) and they have been given anything they have asked for to fight crime. Yet, TTPS is probably the lowest performing police service in the world.

“[…] The TTPS is a ‘dumping ground’ for people who achieved less than stellar performances in academia. After high school, the better performers go on to university and professional careers. The TTPS remain recruiting from those who remain, with 5 O’ levels, basic passes. What can you achieve with them?”

The following Letter to the Editor on use of the death penalty in Trinidad and Tobago was submitted to Wired868 by Mohan Ramcharan from Birmingham, England:

Photo: Members of the Police Service march during the 2018 Independence Day parade in Port of Spain.
(Copyright Ministry of National Security)

Not for the first time, and likely not the last either, I take to my keyboard to ask the question: ‘Where did the hangman go?’

This in response to the usual call of ‘Bring back hangman’ made by writers of several letters to the editor:

  • Arnold Gopeesingh, Newsday 20 Oct 2018
  • Dr Waffie Mohammed (and other Muslim leaders), Guardian 3 October 2010
  • Father Ian Taylor, Newsday 12 June 2018
  • G A Marques, Guardian 8 October 2016
  • Jay G Rakhar, Newsday 3 May 2019
  • G A Marques, Express 31 July 2019.

It’s like these writers don’t read the newspapers because I have responded to them every time I see this nonsense printed in letters to the editor. I can’t say stick broke in their ears but they might have ‘yampee’ in their eyes.

The death penalty has not gone anywhere! It is still the law of the land. It has not been stopped by the Privy Council or any other legal body.

Frankly, it would serve these bleaters for blood better to shout from the rooftops to get the detection rate higher. After all, you can’t hang murderers if you have a 96% chance of not catching them—and only a 0.04% chance of convicting if caught.

Photo: Fancy a trip to the gallows?
(Copyright Morningstaronline.co.uk)

Billions of dollars have been spent on the TnT police service (TTPS) and they have been given anything they have asked for to fight crime. Yet, TTPS is probably the lowest performing police service in the world—certainly, I have not yet heard of one performing less than the TTPS.

Ask the question then, why is this so?

The TTPS is a ‘dumping ground’ for people who achieved less than stellar performances in academia. After high school, the better performers go on to university and professional careers. The TTPS remain recruiting from those who remain, with 5 O’ levels, basic passes. What can you achieve with them?

Then, you want to teach them law and legal principles in six months, during which time they must also physically train, and learn to use firearms etc. The quality of assimilation shows in how many we have being charged or accused of misbehaving in office. When will the relevant authorities learn that a longer and more comprehensive training program, equivalent to a degree, is necessary?

Change doesn’t start with the hangman. It starts by catching the murderers.

About Mohan Ramcharan

Mohan Ramcharan is a law student and a student of human nature and culture, who prefers cool logic to emotional ranting. A Trinidadian living in England, he observes the world through two lenses—and strives to share both views in his writing.

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4 comments

  1. From an outsider looking in it, such as the author of that group of words thrown together above, it would appear that the 5 passes police are the problem. However, the writer clearly did not put much critical thought into his personal armchair professional assessment of the situation. Let me, an officer of the TTPS with THREE degrees, extensive international experience and good ole common sense summarize the situation for the author above since I am “trapped” in the inefficiency of the service. The TTPS is ineffective and inefficient because of poor management, inefficient use of human (and other) resources, political interference and lack of government will. Additionally, giving money isn’t enough if all the other related systems (judiciary, prisons, border management, legislative etc) aren’t in place for the most visible player in this game of ‘catch the bad guys’, the TTPS, is to function properly.

    • Lions led by donkeys, my friend.

    • Did A Waller above join the TTPS with his 3 degrees and extensive international experience? Did he have them before joining or earned them while working for TTPS? I imagine it’s the latter.
      In any event, he is a minority. Does not take away from the factual minimum requirements.

      Bear in mind that 5 passes are also what is minimally required to pump gas at an NP petrol station, and to cut cloth in a Syrian store.

    • @A Waller
      You are exceptional to TTPS in having three degrees. I could well imagine that their aren’t a high percentage of people with your level of qualifications. I mean that in a complimentary way.

      But ‘critical thinking’ isn’t well displayed in your response on this occasion. How?
      1. You do not deal with the facts of what Mr Ramcharan has asserted and their implications.
      2. Instead you reached for the well worn Trini tactic which is to take down by ad hominem (as per name calling about armchair etc).
      3. Your situation personally or professionally is irrelevant to the big picture for TTPS. Do I need to explain it.

      Step out of yourself for a moment. Examine the cultural patterns of your own thinking above. How might your own thought processes be predetermined by original culture? Loads of good people like you come over to England or America etc get trained up and return to your ‘Rock’. Then what happens, they fall in line with local culture. So – the training was good but it’s application becomes ineffective. Then they outsource failures to higher level management problems.

      Hold on bro – nobody likes to admit that their thoughts are predetermined. But you see that for yourself in your own ineffective leadership. And nobody admits to anybody else that they are ineffective, or part of the problem. Right or wrong?

      The issue is that TTPS is drawing on a weak pool of people at the outset by entry requirements being so low. If one selects from such a pool of people – it’s not simply a matter of academic prowess (or lack of it). The issue is far deeper i.e. the socio-cultural contexts brought by those people, and the hard work that then has to be done to bring them up to scratch for the purposes of crime detection to prosecution. In other words the pool of people are sourced from low functioning contexts – and re-education in TTPS does not effectively wash that out. ‘Education’ is not about ‘books’ and ‘courses’ – it is largely about cognitive and behavioural patterns of operation. We see it all the time what some lower level officers do from the media exposures. But outside of the media people know how badly behaved a lot of those officers are.

      I agree with your points about poor management and that other systems need to interleave effectively with TTPS for successful outcomes on crime control, detection and prosecution.

      It would be great if you and others with an interest in law, crime control, penal institutions and related matters can join us at http://www.thingslegal.co.uk/forum/index.php We are very selective, as you may see in our ‘registration agreement’ and we don’t care for numbers of people and thumbs up etc. This is NOT FACEBOOK. We aim to kick people out for poor quality 😉 – not like in your TTPS. So this is hardly an advertisement, with words like that!