Commissioner designate Ian McGrail has vowed put first the Royal Gibraltar Police officers who work “on the coalface”, given the challenges they face in frontline policing.
Mr McGrail, who will succeed Eddie Yome as Commissioner of Police as from May 1, 2018, was speaking as part of a wide-ranging interview with the Chronicle in which he set out his vision for the force.
“Those officers dealing with operational matters, they will come first as far as I’m concerned,” Mr McGrail said.
“They will come first before me,” he said, adding: “Because I know all the issues they are facing, all the challenges that they are facing, more so now when we are still pursuing a human resource business case.”
“I know the difficulties they are facing and I will put them first and they will realise that by the time I’ve gone, they will hopefully think ‘this man looked after us’,” he said.
Mr McGrail also plans to restore and promote a collegiate culture within the service, underscoring that officers “need to look after each other”.
The RGP has this year engaged with the Gibraltar Government in a Human Resource Audit, as it feels that the policing demands have exceeded the present complement.
Mr McGrail explained that the RGP has demonstrated that, because of the demands placed on the force, it is short of human resources in a wide range of areas.
But these demands can only increase with the implementation of legislation covering substantive issues such as counter terrorism.
“We are confident that the Government truly understands the challenges and appreciates them,” he said, adding: “So we are very grateful that they have commissioned an independent organisation to look at our case.”
Additionally, the Gibraltar Defence Police Federation [GDPF] hopes for a transfer of the force from the Ministry of Defence to the Gibraltar Government via an amalgamation with the RGP, presenting another dynamic to the issue.
From an outsider’s perspective the situation is a straightforward one: the RGP needs officers and there exists a pool of well-trained GDP officers seemingly keen for the transfer to take place.
However, there are many complexities involved and Mr McGrail insists that the situation requires clarity for the sake of the security and safety of Gibraltar.
“We need to know what’s going to happen with regards to that and whatever the route that that takes, I would have a very keen interest in it, because there are policing implications for the RGP PLC,” he said.
“The roadmap is not clear and that’s causing a lot of concern.”
“If the roadmap says Gibraltar needs this and by such a year – in five or ten years – we will achieve it, we will work towards that.”
“But from my position as Commissioner, when I take the role up, if we need skilled officers and there are already skilled officers there, we will welcome them with open arms assuming that all those creases are ironed out.”
Mr McGrail said the RGP respects the GDP but stressed the need to work out a formula that would appease everybody.
Whatever the outcome, he added, it must meet Gibraltar’s needs.
FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS