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Community, Police commit to improved relations

Community, Police commit to improved relations

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Although it got off to a rocky start, last Thursday’s meeting at the Petit Bordel Secondary School (PBSS) to discuss police and community relations ended with both sides committing to better relations.{{more}}

The meeting was a follow up to a previous one held at the Golden Grove Resource Centre early last month, after North Leeward residents complained of police brutality at the hands of members of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) stationed at Chateaubelair.

The meeting also followed the blocking of the road in Troumaca by some residents in protest on independence morning.

Representing the police was Superintendents of Police (SOP) Michael Charles and Artis Davis who is the Western Divisional Commander. Area Representative Dr Jerrol Thompson was also in attendance.

The meeting was well attended and some residents spoke of their encounters with police officers who were either violent or disrespectful to them. Roland “Patel” Matthews, who contested the North Leeward seat in the two last general elections on an NDP ticket along with other prominent members of the Petit Bordel community also made contributions to the meeting.

Matthews raised the issue that young persons from Petit Bordel were finding it difficult to become members of the police force even though they are qualified and have unblemished records. Matthews said that the trend has been going on for a long time. Minister Thompson and SOP Davis promised to look into the matter.

Davis informed the gathering that following the first meeting he sat with the Commissioner and certain decisions were taken including reprimands and transfers of errant officers. “We will not tolerate that kind of behaviour from our officers,” he said. Although those present agreed that the incidents of police brutality were lessened, many persons agreed that it was still going on.

A number of recommendations were made including sensitivity training for officers, an independent body to investigate police brutality complaints and economic activities and training so that youths can be meaningfully occupied and stay out of trouble.

Davis said that the meetings will be on going, however a time and venue was not set for the next meeting. (AC)