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Steps to limit sexual engagement among police officers

High Command members of RGPF in the process of carrying out an inspection of police officers

A confidential document is known to exist within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) that seeks to address sexual conduct between police officers.

The document focuses on an issue called “Fraternisation” between male and female police officers.

In recent weeks, THE NEW TODAY has been able to highlight several reports concerning allegations that senior officers within RGPF have been pressuring female officers to engage in sexual activities with them and punishing those who resist their approaches.

About eight to ten senior officers have been identified by female officers as culprits.

Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin summoned a meeting of all female officers in which he announced the setting up of a 3-member “Focal Point Team” to look into the allegations.

THE NEW TODAY has been able to obtain a copy of the document which reads in part: “The RGPF strongly believes that a work environment where employees maintain clear boundaries between employee personal and professional/business interactions is necessary for effective operations.

Although this policy does not prevent the development of friendships or romantic relationships between co-workers, it does establish boundaries as to how relationships are conducted during working hours and within the working environment.

Individuals in supervisory or managerial roles, and those with authority over other terms and conditions of employment, are subject to more stringent requirements under this policy due to their status as role models, their access to sensitive information, and their ability to affect the employment of individuals in subordinate positions.”

As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces the document that speaks about Fraternisation within RGPF:-

I. INTRODUCTION

The nature and conduct of relationships between employees are important factors in maintaining the discipline and professionalism of the Royal Grenada Police Force.

The ranked structure and operations of the organization necessitates the regulation of employee relations. Section 17 and section 140 of the Police Regulations chapter 244 of volume 11 of the 2010 Continuous Revised Edition of the Laws of Grenada forbids undue familiarity between supervisors and subordinates.

It is acknowledged that freedom of choosing one’s partner is an individual’s right. But, without rules and guidelines, romantic relationship between colleagues and improper employee fraternization may negatively impact the workplace.

Dating colleagues may cause problems if not handled correctly. Examples of common concerns; colleagues who date might spend a large portion of their work time talking or meeting with each other instead of completing their duties. Fights or breakups between couples might affect their ability to collaborate or maintain peace in the workplace. Employees who dated supervisors might sue for sexual harassment if they are terminated and employees who date supervisors might unfairly benefit from favoritism.

Fraternization between employees is also included in this policy. While friendships allow for a more collaborative environment, fraternization can create disputes, cliques, fragmentation and insubordination within departments.

This policy sets restriction to maintain workplace conduct and order.

II. POLICY STATEMENT
The RGPF strongly believes that a work environment where employees maintain clear boundaries between employee personal and professional/business interactions is necessary for effective operations.

Although this policy does not prevent the development of friendships or romantic relationships between co-workers, it does establish boundaries as to how relationships are conducted during working hours and within the working environment.

Individuals in supervisory or managerial roles, and those with authority over other’s terms and conditions of employment, are subject to more stringent requirements under this policy due to their status as role models, their access to sensitive information, and their ability to affect the employment of individuals in subordinate positions.

III. SCOPE
This policy applies to all employees regardless of rank, gender or sexual orientation. It also applies to employees who are married or in a domestic partnership.

IV.  DEFINTIONS
A. Conflict of Interest: a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.

B. Dating: includes consensual romantic relationships and sexual relationships. Non-Consensual relationships constitute sexual harassment which is strictly prohibited by the RGPF’s Sexual Harassment Policy.

C. Fraternization: is the interaction between co-workers that extends beyond business relationships.

D. Unacceptable Behavior

  1. Unacceptable behavior is any action that:
  2. Offends people
  3. Disrupts or hinders operations
  4. Distracts employees from their duties
  5. Decreases employees’ individual performance

2.Examples of unacceptable behavior for employees are and not restricted to:

a. Arguing in the workplace during or after working hours

b. Kissing or touching inappropriately in front of colleagues

c. Exchanging an excessive number of instant messages or calls unrelated to their work during working hours.

d. Making colleagues uncomfortable by talking or boasting about the relationship during working hours.

V. RESTRICTED/PROTECTED CLASS
A. Police Officers, Probationers, Interns and employees who are less than twenty (21) years of age are considered a protected class of persons within the organization.

B.Also Protected is a group or person that, by the nature of their position is placed at the organization for learning/developing experience or on the job training.

C. Examples include but are not limited to: recruits and other trainees, engaged in relationships with supervisors, or other officers who evaluate or could be in a position to affect the evaluation of the officer.

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D. They are entrusted to us for direction, guidance and assistance. Employees shall avoid inappropriate on-duty or off-duty relationships with this class of persons. Employees who develop such relationships are subject to disciplinary action.

E. Inappropriate relationship is defined as a relationship that involves sexual intimacy or dating.

F. This policy is not intended to affect relationships that existed prior to one or both parties becoming affiliated with the RGPF. Providing that the pre-existing relationship is disclosed at the time of hiring nor would it apply to relationships that began prior to the adoption of the policy.

VI. General Procedures
A. During working time and in working areas, employees are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate workplace manner that does not interfere with others or with overall productivity.

B. During nonworking time, such as lunches, breaks, and before and after work periods, employees engaging in personal exchanges in non-work areas shall observe an appropriate workplace manner to avoid offending other workers or putting others in an uncomfortable position.

C. Employees are strictly prohibited from engaging in physical contact that would in any way be deemed inappropriate in the workplace by a reasonable person while anywhere on RGPF’s or other premises where duties are performed, whether during working hours or not.

D. Law enforcement employees must be mindful that their off-duty conduct also reflects on the organization and on their professional image specially romantic, sexual or other inappropriate relationships between supervisors and subordinates.

E. Employees must keep discussions of personal issues out of the workplace and maintain professionalism despite the status of their relationship and are advised to seek advice from their head of department to solve any issues.

F. Employees who allow personal relationships with co-workers to adversely affect the work environment will be subject to progressive discipline, up to and including termination in cases of repeated violations. Failure to change behavior and maintain expected work responsibilities is a serious disciplinary matter.

G. Employees are also obliged to behave appropriately towards their colleagues who date each other. The RGPF prohibits victimization and hostility towards employees for any reason. This includes sexual jokes, gossip and improper comments. Employees who witness this kind of behavior should report it to their supervisor.

VII. SUPERVISOR/SUBORDINATE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP
A. Employees must consider any possible conflict of interest before they enter into a relationship with a coworker.

B. Any supervisor, manager, executive or other employee in a sensitive or influential position within the RGPF must disclose the existence of a romantic or sexual relationship with another co-worker. Disclosure may be made to the individual’s immediate supervisor or the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Human Resources. The RGPF will review the circumstances to determine whether any conflict of interest exists.

C. When a conflict of interest or potential risk is identified due to a sexual or romantic relationship between co-workers. The RGPF will work with the parties involved to consider options for resolving the problem. The initial solution may be to make sure the parties no longer work together on matters where one is able to influence the other or take action for the other. Matters such as disciplining, promotions, performance management and appraisals and financial transactions are examples of situations that may require reallocation of duties to avoid any actual or perceived reward or disadvantage. In some cases, other measures may be necessary such as transfer of one or both parties to other positions or departments.

D. Failure to cooperate with the RGPF to resolve a conflict or problem caused by a romantic or sexual relationship between co-workers or among managers, supervisors or others in positions of authority in a mutually agreeable fashion may be deemed insubordination and results in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

E. Where doubts exist as to the specific meaning of the terms used above, employees should make judgments based on the overall spirit and intent of this policy.

VIII. FRATERNIZATION
A. Employees who work together may naturally form friendships either in or out of their workplace. These relationships between peers are encouraged, as it can help employees communicate, collaborate and preserve harmony while working.

B. However fraternization can result in negative consequences such as disputes, example over borrowed money, gossip about colleagues and acquaintances, the formation of cliques that exclude certain colleagues, or may bring discord and undermine authority.

C. To mitigate these and other possible issues, employees are advised to:

  1. Discuss non-work related issues outside of the workplace
  2. Ask for their supervisor’s help when they are unable to resolve an issue or conflict of interest
  3. Act professionally at all times
  4. When on duty focus on work
  5. Adhere to the rules contained in the Police Regulations relating to conduct, roles and responsibilities of members with various ranks.

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