ST. VINCENT:- Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has defended his government’s decision to appoint a 24-year-old forensic psychologist as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
Gonsalves, however, said his government is mindful not to inhibit natural promotion within the constabulary.
Kamecia Blake recently enlisted with the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) as an ASP after serving as its forensic psychologist for one year.
She is the youngest person to hold that rank as well as the country’s first forensic psychologist.
“Miss Blake is a brilliant young scholar,” Gonsalves told Parliament on Monday, Oct. 25. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
He further said that the “Durrant Report”, which proposes changes to the Police Force, had recommended that the country follow the example of Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago and have university graduates enter the police service at particular levels if they wish to.
“The government of SVG adopted that as a policy position,” said Gonsalves who is also Minister of National Security, saying that Blake is the first person to be appointed under the new policy.
Gonsalves said that Blake, who has a master’s degree in forensic psychology and a first degree in psychology, wanted to be a member of the police force and his government also wanted her to be a member of the police force.
The government wanted Blake to work with the Criminal Investigations Department, the Serious Crimes Unit and the Training Division.
“And, given the fact that it was an innovation, we wanted to see how she would fit before we actually did the implementation. And all the reports were that she fitted beautifully. A humble young woman, tremendous ability, tremendous integrity, but she was for all purposes a public servant and not a police officer,” Gonsalves told legislators.
“She is now inducted into the police force and she can better serve the police force. Take, Mr. Speaker, if the CID, the Serious Crimes Unit want to call her out at 2:00 in the morning on an investigative matter, if she is public servant, they can’t do that. But, when the superintendent in charge of the Serious Crimes Unit summons her, she has to come, because she is a police woman,” he added.
He said that in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, there are special programmes for training such graduates in the basic elements of the police. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“The point here is that one has to be careful how one expands this particular programme because you don’t want to block all the spaces for police officers for natural promotion who are in the police force. And we have accepted that as part of the policy. But there are one or two areas, like for instance this area of forensic psychology where she will be of tremendous assistance in the solving of crimes, particularly serious crimes,” he said.
Gonsalves further said such enlistments in the Police Force are also possible in the areas of administration and human resource development.
“Ideally, if we have a sufficiency of police officers coming through with sufficient rapidity as university graduates, it will reduce the need for any such limited numbers would be brought in from outside. We are having a number of graduates already and that is to be welcomed within the police force,” he said.