IMPACS Report: Trying Times Say Police
At a press conference held by the hierarchy of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force on Friday morning, the mood was every bit sombre, with those at the head table appearing to carefully choosing their words. The police had agreed to meet with the press, in light of statements coming out of the address by the prime minister into the investigation of alleged wrongdoing by the police and the ensuing report.
“The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is deeply touched by the prime minister’s revelations,” stated deputy police commissioner Errol Alexander reading from a prepared statement. “However as an organization we must continue to perform our functions efficiently and professionally to ensure a more improved service to our customers consistent with our policing principles,” he went on to say.
Having heard the address, Alexander said that the RSLPF stands resolute and that in time the matter can only cause members to become stronger and better. “As custodians of the law, we must always act within the confines of the law because our actions will always be subjected to review. For this reason, officers will always be held accountable for their actions. They have been and will always be encouraged to do so,” he said.
Asked about the morale of the members of the force at this time, Alexander said that naturally these were trying times and that Sunday’s address had resulted in some level of unease and anxiety among the RSLPF.
For her part deputy police commissioner Frances Henry pointed out that the findings of the report point to “allegations”. She went on to stress that the police, like any other civilian are innocent until proven guilty and cautioned the public and the media not to rush to judgment.
Head of operations within the RSLPF informed Friday’s gathering that the police officers who were part of Operation Restore Confidence were obviously under severe stress following Sunday’s revelations by the PM. “It is for that reason we have had meetings with them and we have decided to take them off front-line duties for now, as you can well imagine the psychological impact this is having on them,” he said.
Asked whether he would have liked the report to be made available to the police head command, Alexander said he could not speak to that in the absence of police commissioner Vernon Francois who is on vacation.
The same question was put to Cameron Laure head of the police welfare association who also spoke to the media on Friday. He said he thought that it should have been made available or at best discussed with the police head command first. “But it is in the purview of the prime minster he dictates how he thinks he should proceed,” Laure said adding that he was not happy with the way the report was handled by Dr. Anthony. He too stressed that the findings were allegations that must be proven. “Until they are proven you cannot condemn the officers,” Laure said.
“The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force wishes to reassure the public that we will continue to function and maintain zero tolerance to crime and continue to maintain the good partnership with all communities and strive to improve our continuous relationship,” Alexander said on Friday. Editor’s Note: As we were about to go to press on Friday we received the following from the RSLPF press desk: “Mr. Alexander has been elevated to the rank of Acting Commissioner of the Royal St Lucia Police Force. He received his letter from Public Service Commission stating that it was effective from 9th March,, 2015.
Errol Alexander (Center) flanked by RSLPF top brass at a
press conference Friday.