Commissioner explains police reshuffle

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Acting commissioner of police, Atlee Rodney, has sought to give the rationale behind the recent reshuffling of officers within the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB).
“You have some guys that have been working in one particular area for a while, you can even call them experts in that field but then they may be deficient in other areas of policing so you give them an opportunity to work somewhere else. At the end of the day by the time they move up the ranks they have much more experience and can produce better,” Rodney explained.
Acknowledging that this is the single biggest reshuffle of officers in the history of the force, the acting top cop said there was a situation in which some officers would be in one department for a very long time and he believes that stifles the personal growth of those officers.
As an illustration, he said there were officers in the country districts, who were not skilled in investigation, so other officers with experience in that field were sent to work along with the less experienced officers to bring them up to speed.
The acting top cop admitted that the administrative team within the force had procrastinated for some time with the reshuffling of officers but finally decided that the time was right.
He denied rumours that the reshuffling is linked to the recent suspension of Wendel Robinson amidst sexual harassment allegations and another high-ranking officer who has recently been charged in relation to a passport scandal.
Rodney said that it is easy for people to speculate that there is a link between the reshuffle and the matters related to the senior police officers because they all occurred weeks apart. He, however, stressed that improvement of officers and the force on a whole were the real reasons behind the move.
He said that when he accepted the position of acting commissioner, it was a ‘baptism by fire’ because of the scandals that hung over the force at the time and the glaring public scrutiny and distrust of police officers.
He, however, tried to assure listeners that the police are committed to serve the public as best they can.
In total, 84 officers have been transferred with the majority, 28, moved from the Protective Operations Department (POD) and 13 from the Special Services Unit (SSU).
The POD officers worked at the ministries and other government departments but most have been redeployed to St. John’s as well as other departments and stations in various divisions, ranging from A to D. A few were sent to work in maintenance.
The transfers come after the June 22 promotions list, which announced the elevation of 36 officers. It also comes at a time when the public has been questioning the integrity and capabilities of lawmen amid the arrest of a senior cop for alleged fraud, the suspension of the top cop for alleged sexual harassment and the escape of a prisoner while in police custody and who allegedly killed a resident while on the run.

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