The attempt by the Police Service Commission (PolSC) to use social media—with all its known data deficiencies—to evaluate and assess the Commissioner of Police (CoP) is seriously flawed and possibly irresponsible, given its constitutional mandate.
The CoP himself has a fan club with clear implications for this social media survey. The responses, including anonymous ones, to the PolSC can be manipulated in many ways, producing a very unreliable and invalid result. The PolSC survey will be working against a high well-known level of public relations and a lot of self-praise by the Commissioner.
The public is also faced with Police Service data on crime reports without telling the public the percentage of detection, etc. The detection rates are deterrents to crime. Covid-19 has a strong influence on crime reports. These are additional reasons for the PolSC to do its job properly. Uncontrolled social media survey is seriously flawed for this purpose.
Public confidence and trust in the Police Service and its leadership are critical for crime reduction, management and the preservation of human rights. In recent years, many serious concerns have been expressed about problems in each one, so that today as the PolSC undertakes its constitutional assessment of the Commissioner’s performance and leadership, a very reliable method of such assessment is required.
It must be a method by the PolSC with which the public itself has confidence and trust. If the public does not have confidence in the PolSC method, how can it have trust in the results of the CoP’s performance?
The PolSC had complained that it does not have the required funds to undertake a reliable and randomised sample. Just as the Government provides millions of dollars to advertise and hire private consultants to develop interview methods for selecting applicants for the CoP post, why can’t it provide the required funds for the PolSC to do a reliable, valid and trustworthy public survey?