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Sexual harassment policy in RGPF

A parade involving members of the police force

In the face of allegations of sexual abuse and harassment of female police officers by high-ranking members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), THE NEW TODAY has seen a document which seeks to address the issue within the island’s major security outfit.

The document addresses the steps to be followed by female officers who are being pressured for sex by members of the force including those who fall under the jurisdiction of the Public Service commission (PSC) from Inspector and upwards.

There have been several reports coming out of the police force in the past month pointing at sexual harassment of female officers by at least eight to ten most senior officers within RGPF.

Some of the allegations include the immediate transfer of those female police officers who resist the attempt by the sex predators within the police force.

According to the sexual harassment policy RGPF will enforced “a zero tolerance policy” towards the act in the workplace and will promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment.

“Any person found to have sexually harassed another will face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from employment,” the document said.

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces the policy document that seeks to address the vexing problem of sexual harassment within RGPF:

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is committed to providing a safe environment for all its employees free from discrimination on any ground and from harassment at work including sexual harassment.

This policy will be applied consistently throughout the RGPF. All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making a complaint.

The RGPF will operate a zero tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment.

Any person found to have sexually harassed another will face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from employment.

DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
A.Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.

  1. Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behaviour which constitute sexual harassment include but are not limited to:

Physical Conduct:

i. Unwelcome physical contact including patting, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling or inappropriate touching

ii. Physical violence, including sexual assault

iii. The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours

Verbal Conduct:

i. Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.

ii. Sexual comments, stories and jokes

iii. Sexual advances

iv. Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy

v. Insults based on the sex of the employee

vi. Condescending or paternalistic remarks

vii. Sending sexually explicit messages by phone or by email.

Non-Verbal Conduct:

i. Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material

ii. Sexually-suggestive gestures

iii. Whistling

iv. Leering

SCOPE

A. Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser. The RGPF recognises that sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. Of importance is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcome by the person against whom the conduct is directed.

B. This policy provides protection for all members of staff including established employees, recruits, rural constables, civilian staff and trainees. It also extends to persons, such as complainants of crimes and other reports, who through RGPF related business come into contact with and are affected by sexual harassment conduct of RGPF staff.

C. All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place within the premises of the RGPF or outside, including at social events, business trips, training sessions or conferences arranged by or through the RGPF.

D. The RGPF recognises that sexual harassment can be a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between supervisors and subordinates, it is also perpetrated by individuals of lesser or equal authority. Any member of staff who sexually harasses another or persons who conduct business with the RGPF will be subject to this policy.

IV. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES

A. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated through a wide range of behaviours including acts categorised as sexual offences by Grenada’s Criminal Code. This policy therefore provides informal, formal and criminal complaint mechanisms to provide adequate and appropriate options to complainants.

B. Initial Actions: Anyone who is subject to sexual harassment should:

Immediately inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcomed.

a. The RGPF recognises that where a power dynamic exists between the parties it may not be possible for victims to inform the alleged harasser. If a victim cannot directly approach an alleged harasser, he/she can approach a supervisor for assistance.

2.Complete an incident report form

3. Report the incident immediately to the Department/Division head. If that individual is responsible for the harassment, report the conduct to the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Human Resources.

C. Responsibility of Officer Receiving Complaint: When a member of staff receives a complaint of sexual harassment, he/she will:

  1. Immediately record the dates, times and facts of the incidents, (preferably in the Form of a Statement.)
  2. Ascertain the views of the complainant, as to what outcome he/she wants;
  3. Ensure that the complainant understands the RGPF’s procedures for dealing with the complaint;
  4. Discuss and agree the next steps: either informal or formal complaint, on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome.
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5.Ensure that the complainant knows that he/she can lodge the complaint through other available mechanisms if desired;

6.Keep a confidential record of all discussions;

7. Respect the decisions of the complainant.

D. Informal Complaints Mechanism: If the complainant wishes to deal with the matter informally, the designated person will:

  1. Give an opportunity to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint;
  2. Ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints mechanism;
  3. Facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution which is acceptable to the complainant or refer the matter to a designated person within the organisation to resolve the matter;
  4. Ensure that a confidential record is kept of what happens;
  5. Follow up after the outcome of the complaint’s mechanism to ensure that the behaviour has stopped;
  6. Ensure that the above is done speedily within fourteen (14) days of the complaint being made.

E. Formal and Criminal Complaints Mechanism

  1. If the complainant wants to make a formal or if the informal complaint mechanism has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the complainant, the formal complaint mechanism should be used to resolve the matter. The person who initially received the complaint will refer the matter to A.C.P i/c Human Resources.
  2. The A.C.P i/c of Human Resources will refer the matter to an internal or external investigator.
  3. The Investigator will:

a. Interview the complainant and the alleged harasser separately

b. Interview other relevant third parties separately

c. Produce and present a report to the A.C.P i/c of Human resources detailing the investigations and any recommendations

  1. The A.C.P on receipt of the report, where the alleged offender is of or below the rank of sergeant will appoint a gender balanced, three man disciplinary tribunal to adjudicate on disciplinary proceedings prescribed under section 35 of the Police Act.
  2. The tribunal will determine if the harassment took place. If it has been determined that the sexual harassment did occur, in determining the appropriate remedy the complainant will be consulted and recommendations made to the Commissioner of Police.
  3. The Commissioner of Police after considering the recommendations will determine the disciplinary measures to be taken.
  4. The A.C.P in charge of Huma Resources will follow up to ensure that the offending behaviour has stopped and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome
  5. If it cannot be determined that the harassment took place the tribunal may still make recommendations to the Commissioner of Police to ensure proper functioning of the workplace.
  6. A confidential record will be kept of all actions taken.
  7. Where the alleged offender is above the rank of sergeant, as prescribed by sec 34 of the Police Act Chapter 244 of volume 11 of the 2010 Continuous Revised Edition of the Laws of Grenada, the matter will be referred to the Public Service Commission.
  8. The A.C.P in charge of Human resources or designee will ensure that the process is done as quickly as possible and in any event within six week of the complaint being made.

F. Criminal Complaint Procedure

  1. Where the alleged actions amounts to a criminal offence and the complainant request that criminal proceeding be instituted. The A.C.P i/c of Human Resources will direct the Head of the Criminal Investigations Department to conduct investigations into the complaint.
  2. On completion of the investigation the file will be forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions for direction as to the charges and criminal proceedings.

G. Other Measures: Throughout the complaints procedure, a complainant is entitled to be referred to and helped by a counselor of or provided by the RGPF. The RGPF will nominate members of staff and provide them with special training to enable them to assist victims of sexual harassment.

V. SANCTIONS AND DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

A. Anyone who has been found to have sexually harassed another person will be subject to punishment prescribed by the Police Act, including:

  1. Making a written or oral apology;
  2. Verbal or written warning;
  3. Adverse performance evaluation;
  4. Transfer;

B. The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.

VI. TRAINING

A. The RGPF will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons.

B. All new employees will be trained on the content of this policy as part of their induction into the organisation. It is the responsibility of every station/department supervisor to ensure that every member of staff is aware of the policy to conduct refresher lectures on the policy every year.

VII. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

A. The RGPF recognises the importance of monitoring this sexual harassment policy and will ensure that it anonymously collects statistics and data as to how it is used and whether or not it is effective.

B. Supervisors, managers and those responsible for dealing with sexual harassment cases will report, on compliance with this policy, to the A.C.P in charge of Human Resources and include the number of incidents, how they were dealt with, and any recommendations made. This will be done on a yearly basis.

C. Complainants are encouraged to provide feedback on the effectiveness of this policy and its processes.

D. The organisation will use the information collected to evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and make any changes needed.

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