Senior police officers given letters asking for early retirement

Two senior members of the Police Service First Division have been issued letters of intention requesting early retirement leave to be taken.

The two officers identified are head of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Snr Supt Simboonath Rajkumar and Head of Eastern Division John Trim.

The letters were issued to the senior officers by acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams.

In the letters, Williams indicated that he would be invoking sections of the Police Service Act to have Rajkumar and Trim proceed on leave.

However, it was also given that both officers have seven days to respond to the notice and to potentially contest this request.

William’s actions came hours after he met with Inspector Michael Seales, President of the Police Social Welfare Association, to indicate his intention of making good on his promise to invoke the Police Act and terminate the service of any senior officer found to be not performing to expected standards.

The legislation invoked is under the Police Service Act of 2006 which states in Part IV, Paragraph 31 (1): “The Commissioner may terminate the appointment of an officer on the grounds of reported inefficiency and having regard to the officer’s job performances and, where applicable, his performance appraisal reports.”

In a letter which was issued to Snr Sup Trim, the reasons identified by Williams included a 28 percent increase in murders; 32 percent increase in woundings and shootings; 80 percent increase in burglaries and breakings; 69 percent increase in robberies; 41 percent increase in general larceny; 55 percent increase in larceny dwelling house and a 30 percent overall increase in serious crimes, as the reasons that recipient was being served with a letter of forced retirement leave.

Details of reasons for the letter being served were not forthcoming.

Both senior officers intend to contest the request and have contacted a senior attorney on the matter.

They were critical of the acting commissioner’s decision, noting that there was no prior notice of a performance appraisal of such severity or that persons would potentially be dismissed due to any perceived lack of performance.

Both officers have about four years of service left before they reach the compulsory retirement age of 60. Snr Supt Rajkumar has one year leave inside while Snr Supt Trimm has about two years of vacation leave accumulated.

According to sources, over ten First Division Officers, between the ages of 50 and 55, are earmarked to be sent on early pre-retirement leave by the Acting CoP for non-performance and inefficiency.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Trim said that, while he respected Williams, he did not agree at all with the decision.

He noted that while the letter focused on the negative aspects which plagued the division in 2016 – a year which saw the effects of a recession in the country hit hard – that the letter failed to highlight the good done in the division - namely, that the Eastern Division has the most solved cases in all nine policing divisions of Trinidad and Tobago, with a 45 percent detection rate, and that it had the largest drug seizures of 2016 (102 detections). The closest number to this division was at 63.

More on this as it becomes available.