IMPACS Re­port: Try­ing Times Say Po­lice

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

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.

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