Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Assistant Commissioner cannot be the arbiter to decide when and where he follows the rule

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee has had reason to remind one of his assistant commissioners about Police Standard Operating Orders. This is a point that needs emphasising. The disciplined forces are our bulwark against anarchy and chaos in our country – as in every other state in the modern world. For its professional function, the rules governing its members are very clear on almost every conceivable contingency.
There is a rule as to how the police force communicates with the public. The assistant commissioner, of all people, must know about the rule. He cannot be the arbiter to decide when and where he follows the rule. If he can, what stops every member of the force from “doing his own thing” as he/she sees fit. Isn’t this the very problem that is plaguing the force right now?
So the assistant commissioner decides that his reason for breaking the rule has a “higher motive”? Maybe it does; but he misses the point completely. It is not within his remit to make that decision. He can make that judgement but the course at that point is to resign and make his feelings known. Maybe it sounds harsh, but Weberian institutional standards are violated at our peril.
That said, coming to the substance of the controversy, the police must give a better accounting of the monies allocated for its use during the elections.

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