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PM calls on COP to weed out over zealous officers

PM calls on COP to weed out over zealous officers

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The Commissioner of Police (COP) has been challenged by the Prime Minister to hunt out the “handful” of police officers who are “prone to be engaged in excesses against citizens.”

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was the guest on the “Issue at Hand” call-in programme on WE FM last Sunday and put out the challenge to COP Keith Miller as he sought to address allegations about police brutality.{{more}}

Dr Gonsalves said that he agrees with the COP that some people may be maliciously trying to create an upheaval in an attempt to see the disbanding of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), popularly known as the Black Squad.

He, however, added: “It is equally incumbent on him to ferret out that handful of persons (who abuse citizens), whereever they may be in the police force.”

Dr Gonsalves again echoed his call for citizens to take complaints about police officers to the Police Oversight Body (POB), which is headed by Methodist Minister Rev Victor Job.

While SEARCHLIGHT’s editorial in its Friday, May 8th, edition claimed that Dr Gonsalves’ words of condemnation of police brutality rang “hollow”, he stressed that reports of police brutality are “of concern to the government and to me personally.”

The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of National Security, said that rooting out bad apples in the police force is important if the “rebranding the police force to a police service” is to have substance to it.

Dr Gonsalves, however, made it clear that he cannot beat up the entire police service, stressing the importance of balance in dealing with the issue.

“There is no way in which I can come and take a heap of hot coals and pour it on the police…Policing among certain people is not an easy business,” the Prime Minister stated.

He, however, made it clear that the police cannot use unwarranted force in the execution of their duty, warning them that by doing so they will “alienate people who will otherwise want to come to the police to assist them in the execution of their duties.”

“The police have to maintain trust.” (KJ)