Five members of Special Constabulary promoted to the police force

The Maldives Police Services have announced the promotion of five persons working in the police reserve force – or Special Constabulary – to full police officers.

Following the change, the police are seeking new recruits for the constabulary.

Police revealed that the five persons were officers from the reserve force who were working as security guards at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.


IGMH to hire Police Special Constabulary to manage hospital security

Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in capital city Malé has announced that management of the state hospital’s security will be handled by the Special Constabulary or Reserve Force of the police from February 1.

IGMH’s Deputy CEO Mohamed Habeeb stated that the “access points” and all premises of IGMH will then be under the security of the police’s reserve force, adding that he believed this would bring “massive improvement” compared to the level of security currently seen at the hospital.

He stated that formalities regarding the matter have been completed except for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions.

“It has already been agreed that we will begin implementation of this initiative by February 1. Police are now drafting the MoU which we will sign as soon as they send it to us,” Habeeb stated.

Stating that at present, the hospital has its own employees serving as security guards, Habeeb revealed that this caused a number of problems, including the “lack of suitable candidates who apply, and the irresponsible nature of those already employed”.

He revealed that the hospital’s management had tried to solve the matter by outsourcing to a private security firm, which had also proved unfruitful due to the lack of discipline of the guards.

“Everyone agrees that IGMH is in dire need of stronger security. We had some thieves walk out with our fundbox, we had keys stolen, we have had our doctors threatened…we absolutely are in need of taking stronger security measures,” Habeeb explained.

The police reserve force will be paid for their services by IGMH, Habeeb said, adding “mark that this is the special constabulary we are hiring. Not people from the real police force”.

“Even though we will need to pay them too, it is a far more feasible and effective measure than hiring our own guards or a private security firm. Police are well-disciplined and trained to deal with such situations, so we approached the police requesting for security assistance,” he continued.

“Police seniors then suggested we take the option of hiring the reserve force, which is what we have now agreed to do. We did request that they be especially trained to route patients and visitors to facilitate them to better obtain our services, and to prepare them for working in a hospital environment.”

“Now that we are hiring this force, we will not need to make special provisions for leaves and sick days and other such bureaucratic matters. All of that will be managed by police when it comes to security personnel,” Habeeb stated.

The police media official stated that while the Special Constabulary is managed by the police, it does not consist of “real police officers”.

The official – who requested to remain unnamed – stated that the Special Constabulary had a number of officers who have received basic police training but do not have the authorisation that comes with being an officer.

“For example, they will not have the jurisdiction to use weapons unless they are assigned to a particular task. They are a reserve force and do not have to report to duty daily. They only get paid when they are deployed on some project – oftentimes when other institutions or resorts request for police security assistance,” he explained.

He further added that the special constabulary force will be difficult to identify on sight as they wear the same uniform as regular officers, with a small identifier showing the difference in rank.


Police begin recruitment for “special constabulary” reserve force

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) made an announcement on Sunday seeking recruits for the “special constabulary” reserve force to be established this year.

Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz informed press last week that President Dr Mohamed Waheed has formally authorised the creation of the reserve force, which was provided for in the Police Act enacted in 2008.

“All persons recruited for the police reserve force would have to complete the police basic training course. And all who pass the training and are awarded certificates upon completion would have to take the oath of a police officer,” according to police media.

Applicants must be aged 18 to 35 and should have completed secondary education, it added, while male applicants must be taller than 5 feet 3 inches and female applicants taller than 5 feet.

Application forms along with regulations on the special constabulary are available from the police website. The deadline for submission is May 16.

A reserve force of part-time officers is used in a number of countries as an auxiliary force to be called upon to assist the regular police force.

Commissioner Riyaz meanwhile told local media that the reserve force would create “employment opportunities for youth.” Reserve officers could take other jobs, he explained, but would be subject to police codes of conduct and ethics.

Reserve officers would have the same privileges and powers and receive the same benefits as regular officers, he added.

According to the regulations (Dhivehi) governing the special constabulary, employees of the reserve force would be paid 85 percent of the salary of a regular police officer of the same rank. Reserve officers would be required to work at least 192 hours a month.

Recurrent expenditure

Following the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7, 2012 in the wake of a police mutiny, more than 1,000 officers were given promotions and double promotions while plans were announced to recruit 200 new officers.

In July 2012, a batch of 110 newly-recruited officers took their oaths while housing schemes and other benefits were rolled out for police officers.

During the parliamentary debate on the state budget proposed for 2013, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs criticised budgeted salary increases for military and police officers as well as plans to hire 800 new officers for the security services.

The government’s wage bill was projected to increase by 37 percent in 2013 as a result of hiring more employees.

MDP MP Eva Abdulla claimed during the budget debate that the police and army hired 250 and 350 new staff respectively in 2012.

Consequently, the institutions spent more than MVR 75 million (US$4.8 million) in addition to the approved budgets for 2012, she claimed.

Meanwhile, in its professional opinion on the budget submitted to parliament, the Auditor General’s Office observed that compared to 2012, the number of state employees was set to rise from 32,868 to 40,333 – resulting in MVR 1.3 billion (US$84.3 million) of additional expenditure in 2013.

This anticipated increase included 864 new staff to be hired by the security services, a report by the Auditor General’s Office noted.

In light of “existing inefficiencies” in the state, the Auditor General contended that hiring more staff for various independent institutions would be “a waste of public funds” as it would divert resources from service provision and development projects.

Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad meanwhile sought authorisation from parliament last month to divert MVR 650 million (US$42 million) allocated for infrastructure projects in the budget to cover recurrent expenditure.

More than 70 percent of the state budget is allocated for recurrent expenditures, including salaries, allowances and administrative costs. Of the MVR 12 billion (US$778 million) in recurrent expenditure, 59 percent – 42 percent of the total budget – was to be spent on state employees.