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ROLE, RESPONSIBILITY AND COMPOSITION OF THE POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION
The Police Service Commission was established on June 1, 1956 by the Trinidad and Tobago (Constitution) Amendment Order in Council 1956 (1956 No. 835).
Provision for the Police Service Commission was made in Sections 66B—66G of a further amended constitution, on June 15,1959, to usher in Cabinet Government by an order in Council (1959 No.1044).
On December 1, 1960 the first commissioners were appointed comprising Sir Werner Boos C.B.E (Chairman), Cyril Oswald Stroud, Prince Edward Ferdinand, Conrad Errol O’Brien, Wilfred Dennis Best.
The Commission which was advisory to the Governor became an executive body in 1962 as a result of the independence of Trinidad & Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago Constitution 1962 No. 1875—Section 98 and 99).
On August 1, 1976, Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic consequent on enactment of Act No.4 of 1976 a Republic Constitution.
As mentioned earlier, provision for the function of the commission was made in Sections 122 and 128 of the Republican Constitution.
The Constitution (Amendment) Act No.6 of 2006, (‘the Act”) which took effect from January 1, 2007, amended section 122 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago with respect to the procedure to be followed for the appointment of members of the Police Service Commission.
Under the new provisions the President, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, is required to nominate to the House of Representatives persons who are qualified and experienced in the disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management.
The President is further required to make appointments to the Police Service Commission after the House of Representatives approves the Notification issued by the President in respect of each nomination.
METHOD OF FUNCTIONING
The method of function of the Commission was determined by its constitutional responsibilities. The Act and the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2007 conferred direct responsibility on the Commissioner of Police for recruitment, promotions, appointments, transfers and discipline of all police officers up to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police. These functions were previously, inter alia the responsibility of the former Commission.
The present Commission has been empowered by the Constitution, inter alia,
• To evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the performance of the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioners of Police;
• To hear and determine appeals by officers against the Commissioner in respect of his decisions on promotions and discipline;
• To appoint the commissioner and deputy Commissioners of Police (through a selective process determined by Parliament) and
• To remove from office the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police and exercise disciplinary control over them.
The discharge of these functions requires the elaboration of specific mechanisms and determined forms of consultations and interaction with the wider Police Service, National Stakeholders and the Community as a whole.
Under the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Police Service Commission is an independent body. It was developed to manage the Monitoring, Appointments, Disciplinary, and Appeal functions of the Police Service. These may involve some jurisdictional overlap within the wider responsibilities of governance therefore through appropriate consultation the Commission conducts its affairs within the limit of its constitutional mandate. The Police Service Commission’s mandate under Section 123 (1) (d) is to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioners of Police.
The primary functions of the Police Service Commission are to appoint a Commissioner of Police and to monitor and appraise his performance in the interest of the security of the nation. The other functions of the Commission are directly related to these functions.
The Constitution Amendment Act 2006/2007 introduced the following new functions of the Commission.
• Appointment and removal of the Commissioners of Police and the Deputy Commissioners of Police.
• The exercise of disciplinary action in respect of those officers.
• The hearing and the determination of police officers against decisions of the Commissioner of Police on promotions and discipline and the monitoring of the efficiency and the effectiveness of the Commissioner of the Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Police.
• The Police Service Commission has the power to appoint persons to hold or act in the Police Service established under the Police Service Act, 1965, including appointments on promotion and transfer and the confirmation and the confirmation of appointments, and to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices.
• The Police Service Commission will not remove, or inflict any punishment on, the holder of an office in the Police Service on the grounds of any act done or omitted to be done by him in the exercise of a judicial function conferred upon him unless the Judicial and Legal Service Commission concurs therein.
• Before the Police Service Commission makes an appointment to the office of Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Police it shall consult the Prime Minister, and a person shall not be appointed to such an office if the Prime Minister signifies to the Police Service Commission his objection to the appointment of that person to such an office.
Composition of the Commission
The Police Service Commission of Trinidad and Tobago consists of a Chairman and four other members.
The Chairman of this Commission shall be either the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman of the Public Service Commission. They hold office in accordance with section 126 of the Constitution.
Under the provisions of the Constitution, the President, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, is required to nominate to the House of Representatives persons who are qualified and experienced in the disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management of membership of the Commission.
The president is further required to make appointments to the Police Service Commission after the House of Representatives approves the Notification issued by the President in respect of each nomination.
The President appointed the following persons to serve as Members of the Police Service Commission:
1. Dr. Maria Therese-Gomes - Chairman
2. Mr. Martin Anthony George - Member
3. Mrs. Roamar Achat-Saney - Member
4. Dr. James Kenneth Armstrong - Member
5. Mr. Dinanath Ramkissoon - Member