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Miller: ‘I don’t condone criminal behaviour’

Miller: ‘I don’t condone criminal behaviour’

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“As long as the evidence comes forth, we are going to deal with those persons.”

That was the declaration of Assistant Commissioner of Police Ekron Lockhart as he addressed the topic of complaints of police brutality on WE FM’s daytime talk show, Shake-Up last Monday, May 11th.{{more}}

The hierarchy of the Royal St Vincent Police Force took turns over several hours to speak on the issue which has been in the media spotlight over the last few weeks.

Lockhart gave the assurance that the police will not turn a blind eye to reports of police brutality.

This was also emphasized by Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, who again urged persons who have complaints of police abuses to bring their complaints to the police.

Miller said that he is known by his men to be a hard and stern person, hence he will never condone criminal behaviour by his officers.

He lamented that many times when police officers are brought forward for internal disciplining, the complainants don’t show up, which frustrates the process.

He added that while some of the complaints of abuse may be true, the police must go through the proper channel of investigation to ascertain the truthfulness of the reports.

For his part, Deputy Commissioner of Police Bertram Pompey said that police officers continue to be taught tolerance in relation to dealing with the public.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has expressed his concern about reports of police brutality.

Eustace said that there “is a lot of police brutality”; even though he doesn’t believe it is widespread in the entire force.

He said that he is convinced that the abolition of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) in February of 2007 has contributed to this problem.

When PACE was abolished, the Opposition and the Human Rights Association spoke out against it vehemently.

The Human Rights Association had said that the removal of PACE could open the door to the violation of the rights of individuals.

PACE was introduced in Britain in 1984 to be a legislative framework for the powers of police officers in England and Wales to combat crime, as well as providing codes of practice for the exercise of those powers.

However, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, when he presented the Bill in Parliament, said that citizens’ rights were not being sacrificed with the abolition of PACE.

He said that those rights are catered for and protected under the police regulations and the “Judges Rules”.

The “Judges Rules” are accepted guidelines about police procedure in the execution of their duties and address the maintenance of people’s human rights.(KJ)

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