|SRP salary: $3,236 / PC salary: $7,257 |
By NEWSDAY REPORTER Friday, January 19 2007
DISGRUNTLED Special Re-serve Policemen (SRP) are calling on Prime Minister Patrick Manning (in his capacity as head of the National Security Coun-cil), National Security Minister Martin Joseph and Commission-er of Police Trevor Paul to correct discrepancies involving sala-ries and working conditions of the SRP force.
This force, which sources said, numbers between 2,500 to 3,000, have been bedeviled with problems, the most pressing of which is low morale because of the lack of parity in their remuneration package.
An SRP officer, speaking on strict anonymity for fear of reprisal from seniors, said that SRPs have all powers and authority granted to regular police constables (PC), yet are not paid as such. Things are so bad, the source said, that the SRPs are considering getting legal advice on the best way forward to get parity.
The source said that 72 SRPs were absorbed into the TT Police Service as regular constables and they got a letter dated October 20, 2005 stating this fact. They underwent training, submitted to a drug test, psychological evaluation and other tests as is the requirement for employment in the TT Police Service.
The training programme was completed on August 8, and 31 of the 72 SRPs were officially absorbed as regular PCs. “A graduation ceremony was held with several members of the Police Executive attending and congratulating us on being absorbed into the service,” the SRP said.
However, he added, none of these officers – to date – have received their TTPS regimental numbers and they are still being paid an SRP salary instead of the salary of a regular police constable.
The SRP officer said that in 2000, their salaries were $2,544 flat, with $50 for COLA and a meal allowance of $375. After deductions were made, the take home salary was $2,459.16. In 2000, a regular police constable’s salary was $3,200 plus house, meal allowance and COLA.
The source said in 2002, the SRPs’ salary was increased to $3,088 and $3,236 in 2004 while in that year, the regular police constable’s salary was also increased to $4,395 plus they also got a backpay. SRP officers work normal police hours and are not entitled to overtime claim.
The source said that on August 9, the Police Second Division Association led by Cedric Neptune commenced negotiations for the regular police with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and following a series of ten meetings, the last of which was on December 6, it was agreed that regular police constables (junior) would get backpay of not less than $15,000 plus a revised salary as of January 31, this year, of $5,123, a house allowance of $1,100, meal allowance of $535 and $100 COLA. A senior constable as of January 31, this year, would be paid $7,257.
However, the SRP force as of January 31, this year, will be paid $3,236. “We are calling on National Security Minister Martin Joseph to tell us where are the millions he said that were set aside for the SRPs,” the SRP said. He added that SRPs work daily not only in charge-rooms of police stations but in such specialised branches of the TT Police Service as the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Homicide Investigations Bureau, the Organised Crime and Narcotics and Firearms Interdiction Bureau.
“All we are asking for is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. We are doing the work of regular police constables, in fact, it is so embarrassing and belittling that we earn much less than some constables who rightfully should be junior to us,” the SRP said.
“The CoP and minister must be sensitive to the fact that we SRPs have bills to pay, rent to pay and groceries to buy just like anyone else. But we are not being paid. We want equity.”
He added that the SRP Act, if the powers that be are interested to know, states that a SRP is supposed to be paid a salary that is fifty cents less than that of a regular police constable. Efforts by Newsday to reach both Commissioner Paul and Minister Joseph for comment yesterday proved futile.