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Nov 8, 2016

ACP Chester Williams Sent on Leave Over Shift Decision; Are Longer Shifts Necessary?

For months, the cracks in the top brass of the police department have been showing wider and wider.  Last week, the outspoken ACP Chester Williams was noticeably absent at high profile events held by the Department. And if you have been following him, you would know that his views on tackling crime are not in concert with the rest of the top brass. One such issue involves the twelve-hour shifts that police officers have been working for years. Williams has said the officers are stretched to the max which does not augur well in the sustained fight against crime. Minister of State with responsibility of Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon Junior, has told the media that the twelve-hour shift has been in place for at least five years and offers both more boots on the ground and more attention to high-crime areas, balanced with what he calls adequate time off. Nonetheless, as part of his takeover of command at the ministerial level, he called for a discussion with Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and the senior police staff as to the effectiveness of the system, bearing in mind the coming of the Christmas season when crime usually peaks. Apparently, ACP Williams pre-empted that discussion. Recently, he made a change within his jurisdiction and that did not sit well with his bosses. And on Monday, the top cop was placed on administrative leave until Friday; pending resolution of what the Ministry of Home Affairs says is an internal administrative matter. A release issued late this afternoon confirmed the decision, saying that after a meeting with Commissioner Whylie, C.E.O. George Lovell and Minister of State Aragon Junior, those issues have since been resolved. Williams is now back on the job.  Former Minister of Home Affairs, Senator Godwin Hulse, weighed in on the issue of eight versus twelve-hour shifts for police during a media interview this morning. While he was not in charge of the ministry long enough to make a final decision, the senator offered his personal view, which encompasses both issues of manpower and officer welfare, not to mention salaries.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Former Minister of Home Affairs

“What I did think is that – you know, what I did say is there is a mandate, in a way, to get to about three thousand police officers, the last passing out was around two thousand two hundred. The more officers you get – clearly, and I think you are referring to overtime payments and that sort of  thing – people get tired, you know, and people need jobs. And so you can’t really have one person, or two persons, making a continuous amount of overtime when other people need jobs and you have other people that you can place. That not only applies to police, that applies to everything, in general.”

 

Hulse noted that he was not entirely displeased about losing the portfolio during the shuffle occasioned by the departure of former Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture Gaspar Vega. He also expressed hope that he would not be moved from Agriculture, which he believes is more suited to his individual talents.

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1 Response for “ACP Chester Williams Sent on Leave Over Shift Decision; Are Longer Shifts Necessary?”

  1. Mike G. says:

    Come on, you can’t really believe that these guys work all that hard. It’s not like they are digging ditches. Just take a look at those big fat bellies. 12 hours? No big deal. Just gives you more days off. I have been a police officer and know what I’m talking about.

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