Female police officers better able to deal with sexual offences
Twenty-seven female police officers are now better equipped to handle the processing of sexual offences, after graduating from a two-week course last week.
The female officers, from a variety of departments, including the Fire Department, the Coastguard and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), participated in the course to acquire information on prosecuting sexual offences, statement taking, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual offences involving mental defectives, electronic interview of suspects and victim care.
The course, coordinated by the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), ran from November 20 to 30 and culminated in a test last Thursday, in which 100 per cent of the participants were able to pass and graduated the following day, Friday, December 1.
Course coordinator Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Trevor Bailey, who congratulated the officers at the graduation, stated, âIâd like to acknowledge the two top students in the class: PC599 Jordan attaining 98 per cent and PC 703 Galley, 95 per cent. There were other impressive grades; some students obtained 93 per cent pass, 92 per cent pass, 90 per cent pass. The lowest mark was a 65. You ladies did well.â
Inspector Junior Simmons stated that the course was designed to increase the investigative capabilities of the female officers and therefore encourage the more effective handling of sexual offences.
He stated, âImprovement of investigations equals more prosecutions of sexual offences like rape, incest and unlawful sexual intercourse with minors, and more prosecution means that more sexual offenders will be taken off the streets and away from society where they can prey on innocent victims.â
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Frankie Joseph, also speaking at the event, indicated his satisfaction with the initiative, saying that they had often contemplated on how to handle the problem of sexual offences in society.
âSexual offences over the years have been a serious challenge and over the years we have seen an increase in sexual offences. Sometimes we would have officers sitting in our Friday meeting and we would be thinking, trying to come up with reasons why sexual offences are so prevalent and are on the increase,â he says.
The ACP had advice for the graduates in using the new skills that they had acquired, requesting that they pay particular attention to taking detailed statements, describing scenes of offences accurately, completing thorough investigations and presenting professional evidence in court.
He also implored them not to judge those who come to them reporting of sexual offences.
âOne of the things I want to encourage you in doing, whenever a report of sexual offence is being reported to you, I want you to be open-minded. Do not be judgmental. Do not judge the victims who come to make these reports, it is not for us to do.â
Joseph indicated that the next step he was hoping to see taken was the training of the Non-Commissioned Police Officers (NCOs) who supervise the other officers at the police station.
âThe NCOs are supervising these officers, so they must know what to look for. They must be there to guide the officers.â His suggestion was greeted by applause of agreement from all in the room, who seemed to support his suggestion that the same training be given to those officers.
As for the expectation from the 27 female officers of varying rank from corporal to very junior officers, the course coordinator encouraged them to use their new knowledge in their positions.
âYouâre now equipped with the necessary information, techniques, so when you go back to your respective division, station and branches, weâre expecting to see a better quality work.â
However, he intoned a word of caution: âRemember, that the sole purpose of launching any investigation is not to effect an arrest, but to establish the truth.â(KR)