The present attempt by the Police Service Commission (PSC) to use social media—with all its known data deficiencies—to evaluate and assess the Police Commissioner is seriously flawed and possibly irresponsible given its constitutional mandate.
The Commissioner of Police (CoP) himself has a fan club with clear implications for this social media survey. The responses, including anonymous ones, to the PSC can be manipulated in many ways, producing a very unreliable and invalid result. The PSC survey will be working against a high well-known level of public relations and a lot of self praises by the Commissioner.
The public is also faced with police service data on crime reports without telling the public the percentage of detection, etc. It is the detection rates that are deterrents to crime. COVID-19 has a strong influence on crime reports.
These are additional reasons for the PSC 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 PSC 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 PSC that the public itself has confidence and trust. If the public does not have confidence in the PSC method, how can it have trust in the results of the CoP performance? The PSC 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 PSC to do a reliable, valid and trustworthy public survey?