Boyce gives as­sur­ance on force

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News - An­toinette Con­nell

by an­toinet­te­con­nell@ From a mur­der charge to the lat­est series of bur­glar­ies against of­fi­cers, the Royal Bar­ba­dos Po­lice Force (RBPF) has had its im­age dented.

But Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Er­win Boyce said the ar­rest and charg­ing of of­fi­cers who ran into trou­ble with the law show that the con­stab­u­lary can be trusted to deal with crime even when it is among its ranks. He has as­sured the pub­lic that the small num­ber of of­fi­cers charged over time, though a se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion and re­flect­ing badly on the force, is not wide­spread.

“The Royal Bar­ba­dos Po­lice Force ac­knowl­edges that over the years there’s been a de­vi­a­tion from our core val­ues by a few, along with some un­eth­i­cal be­hav­iour, and they have been charged and put be­fore the courts to an­swer crim­i­nal mat­ters. We view all charges as very se­ri­ous and once the facts are there to es­tab­lish some­thing crim­i­nal they will go be­fore the court. That has been the prin­ci­ple of the force.

“Ob­vi­ously when we do that we recog­nise it will im­pact on our im­age and there’s some harm, es­pe­cially when some in­stances demon­strate a level of plan­ning. This is very dis­turb­ing for the force, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has re­spon­si­bil­ity for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of crime,” he said, ref­er­enc­ing this week’s con­vic­tion of sus­pended Con­sta­ble Dir­wayne Cum­ber­batch on a string of bur­glar­ies in the north.

Scan­dal

The 30-year-old’s ar­rest and ad­mis­sion to 12 bur­glar­ies and one go­ing equipped to bur­gle, this week, was the most re­cent scan­dal af­ter the force was rocked by the March 2015 mur­der charge against Con­sta­ble Ever­ton Git­tens, 46, who was ini­tially re­manded. Then it was sent reel­ing again in Septem­ber last year when a vet­eran of­fi­cer, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent John An­nel, was charged with hav­ing more than 500 bul­lets.

In the last three years po­lice of­fi­cers have ap­peared on charges that also in­clude statu­tory rape, a road death, cou­pled with sev­eral traf­fic vi­o­la­tions, forgery, money laun­der­ing, and as­sault.

Boyce said that in spite of the charges the num­ber of of­fi­cers ac­cused was small in light of the fact that more than 1 200 po­lice of­fi­cers are on ac­tive duty.

“This is an ex­tremely small num­ber in wrong­do­ing and it is con­tained. The force is very vig­i­lant in en­sur­ing dis­ci­pline is main­tained, and, yes, there will be in­stances where the po­lice may mis­judge the sit­u­a­tion, give wrong di­rec­tion or do the wrong thing, but there is a mech­a­nism to deal with that and we en­sure it works.

“When­ever there is wrong­do­ing re­ported and it re­quires in­ves­ti­ga­tion we will in­ves­ti­gate and the pub­lic can rest as­sured that we will con­tinue to re­spond to any ar­eas of cus­tomer ser­vice that may be com­pro­mised. We will also deal with in­ter­nal mat­ters to main­tain the in­tegrity of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. The force is a good force and we will do ev­ery­thing to make sure it re­mains that way or be­comes a bet­ter one,” he said.

Boyce ex­plained that it was dif­fi­cult to say the level of dis­trust the pub­lic has in the po­lice since no sur­vey has been done to mea­sure it.

“Be­cause we are an or­gan­i­sa­tion that con­stantly brings crime to light we are hop­ing, ex­pect­ing the pub­lic will see that if you do wrong you will face the court. We want to re­store any cred­i­bil­ity that we would have lost in re­spect of the crimes brought to light through our in­ves­ti­ga­tions . . . . The force will not con­ceal be­hav­iour that ought to be known,” said Boyce.

The RBPF is ex­pect­ing to use the var­i­ous me­dia houses to have one-on-ones with the pub­lic along with sta­tion con­tact in the field in or­der to re­in­force its value and cor­rect any bad be­hav­iour.

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