Warders uni­form a dis­grace, sub­stan­dard

Observer on Saturday - - News -

Of­fi­cers at His Majesty’s Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (HMCS) want durable uni­forms than the shame dis­guised as uni­form dis­trib­uted by the de­part­ment to staff.

The of­fi­cers de­mand for the reen­gage­ment of the de­part­ment’s pre­vi­ous uni­form sup­pli­ers, who were later aban­doned, as they are tired of be­ing a shame with the very poor qual­ity and sub­stan­dard uni­form they are made to wear while in the line of duty. The of­fi­cers, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the qual­ity of the cur­rent uni­form is de­spi­ca­ble, stat­ing that some se­cu­rity guard com­pa­nies have bet­ter and good qual­ity uni­forms than the one that has been given to them. The of­fi­cers al­leged that the uni­forms given to them de­part­ment are a dis­grace com­pared to other se­cu­rity forces in the land. The of­fi­cers al­leged that whilst the uni­form is a shame the lead­er­ship is ben­e­fit­ing from the poor qual­ity and its sub­stan­dard na­ture.

The of­fi­cers dis­closed that while it was a good idea to have the uni­form pro­duced in­ter­nally, the re­sults have proven that poor qual­ity ap­parel ma­te­rial has been used and the pro­duc­tion is poorly ex­e­cuted.

The of­fi­cers dis­closed that they can sup­port the idea of procur­ing the uni­form in­ter­nally if the qual­ity is good and the right stan­dards for qual­ity as­sess­ment in any pro­duc­tion were fol­lowed, which is not the case.

The of­fi­cers dis­closed that pre­vi­ous uni­forms, which were pro­duced by the aban­doned sup­pli­ers, were of high qual­ity and were able to sus­tain of­fi­cers for years with­out re­quest­ing new uni­forms.

Pro­duc­tion work­shops and agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties pro­mot­ing the trans­fer of skills by com­ple­ment­ing other skills de­vel­op­ment re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes to im­prove in­mates’ so­cial and per­sonal func­tion­ing has seen the lead­er­ship de­cid­ing to pro­duce uni­forms for of­fi­cers as well.

The of­fi­cers com­plained that while those strate­gies are great, cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers should not be sub­jected to ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with their uni­form, which is part of their re­quire­ment. The of­fi­cers fur­ther con­fided that for qual­ity uni­form the fa­cil­i­ties need to at­tain cer­tain stan­dards just like all pro­duc­tion or man­u­fac­tur­ing in­sti­tu­tion.

Agree

While the of­fi­cers agree that the de­part­ment cov­ers crit­i­cal ar­eas in de­liv­er­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and rein­te­gra­tion pro­grammes and ser­vices to in­mates in Eswatini’s Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­i­ties, which in­cludes the pro­duc­tion of such gar­ments. Some of­fi­cers de­mand for the de­part­ment to limit such pro­duc­tion to of­fend­ers’ uni­forms not their es­sen­tial uni­form as of­fi­cers of the crown.

“The cor­rec­tional de­part­ment is not faced with any ob­sta­cles for this pro­gramme with read­ily avail­able part­ner­ships to aid re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts, but the dirty hands of lead­er­ship is taint­ing the de­part­ment in try­ing to ex­per­i­ment with poor qual­ity uni­forms to get con­trol of funds,” adds one of the of­fi­cers.

How­ever, the of­fi­cers praised the blue print for the cor­rec­tion ser­vice de­part­ment stat­ing that as of­fi­cers they are fol­low­ing it with no re­grets in the stream­lin­ing fo­cus on equip­ping in­mates with ar­ti­sanal skills and ed­u­ca­tion, rather than on the more ther­a­peu­tic pro­grammes of the past.

They said there is more the de­part­ment needs to deal with such as the em­ploy­a­bil­ity of for­mer in­mates and other per­sons with crim­i­nal records.

De­tainees

The of­fi­cer said the num­ber of re­turn­ing de­tainees is very alarm­ing, which needs more strate­gic fo­cus to re­duce the traf­fic back to the cor­rec­tional fa­cil­i­ties.

The of­fi­cer de­cried the lack of fo­cus on the lead­er­ship at the helm of the de­part­ment, stat­ing that there is a need to tap into the re­sources avail­able to the de­part­ment ef­fi­ciently and work on best strate­gies on restora­tive jus­tice pro­cesses cur­rently un­der­taken.

The of­fi­cers said it is not pos­si­ble with the cur­rent tainted lead­er­ship they cur­rently have and dis­closed that the old lead­er­ship must be re­moved and new lead­er­ship with a clear vi­sionbe brought in. Of­fi­cers said it can be bet­ter to have lead­er­ship not on con­tract as they of­ten think of the per­sonal ben­e­fit be­cause they know they are no longer em­ploy­able af­ter the con­tract which is why they are cor­rupt and clang into the con­tracts for ever.

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