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More responsiveness, proactivity needed from police

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Tue, Aug 28, 2012

On several occasions in the last year or two, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller has encouraged the public to report to him directly, all instances when reports and calls made to the various police stations around St Vincent and the Grenadines go unheeded.

His request came after reports in the media, that members of the public had requested the help of the police, only to be told that there was insufficient manpower, or no transportation available for them to respond.{{more}}

Some citizens have even alleged that the sluggishness of law enforcement, or their failure to respond, has resulted in the death of at least one citizen in recent times, or others taking the law into their own hands.

We are not aware of how many calls the chief has received since reaching out to the public, but residents continue to complain that many times, their calls, to at least some of the police stations around the nation, go unheeded.

Last week, the officers of the Questelles police station came under verbal attack, when it was reported that they failed to respond to reports by a Campden Park father, that his physically disabled son had been attacked and hospitalized. The family allege the matter was only investigated after the young man had succumbed to his injuries, more than two weeks later.

In another area of Campden Park, villagers lament that their pleas to police at the same station over the years, that an elderly neighbour has been physically and verbally abusive, have only been greeted by the declaration that this man, an ex-police officer, is mentally ill.

What else would it take for the law enforcers to heed the calls of civilians, who see them as their only source of protection or redress?

Isn’t the directive given by the chief enough to motivate the officers to take the necessary steps when called upon to do so?

One observer, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, recently commented that perhaps the newly refurbished and rebuilt police stations around the country have contributed to what is seen as apathy on the part of some of the policemen and women who inhabit these buildings.

Wasn’t it the Commissioner who complained about the girth of some of his charges?

While the men and women who have vowed to serve and to protect us deserve, and have the right to operate in comfortable and healthy work environments, they should not become complacent or neglectful of their duties.

Perhaps a more frequent rate of rotation should be considered?

Every call or report should be taken with the utmost seriousness, since one never knows when lives are at stake, or when their intervention would serve to avert a potentially dangerous situation.

If the police, when called to a situation, do not think that they are the agency best equipped to handle the matter, shouldn’t they notify the relevant agency, and follow up to ensure that the necessary steps are taken, instead of dismissing the matter as a non-issue?

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