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Leave if you don’t have the right mindset, PM tells police officers

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The Prime Minister has advised police officers who do not have the mindset to work in law enforcement to leave the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) immediately.

And those seeking to join the RSVGPF, who do not have the correct mindset, are also advised not to join, if they are joining because the entry salary is better than other areas of the public service.

Dr Ralph Gonsalves, during a press conference at Cabinet Room last Monday, said he was speaking directly to all members of the police force and advised them to read the Police Act to get an understanding of what he was saying.

“…You are not a civil servant; you are an arm of the State which has a specific set of purposes and duties and the police force is part of the coercive apparatus of the State.

“Coercive means it is part of the force of the state. The defining element of a state is that it possesses the legitimate monopoly on physical coercion and in that state, the police is a central coercive arm in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.

He said that the police force is not the entity to deal with social development, as there are social development agencies in the country, though when the police are dealing with certain offences they must approach the matter with great sensitivity.

“The police force, while they must build good relations with the public, they are not a group to hold consultative discussions, they must have good outreach, but you must understand, it is a force, and it is central in maintaining law and order.

“If you feel that you are a civil servant simpliciter, ask for a transfer into the civil service”, encouraged Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of National Security, said there are instances when police officers have asked for transfers into the civil service and were successful.

“…But you can’t be in the police force and be simply just a civil servant; you are a public servant, but not a civil servant,” explained Gonsalves, who did not explain the reason for his comments.

He said the police force receives at times between 150 to 200 applications with limited positions to fill.

Gonsalves said also that police officers must not listen to higher ranking officers who have their agenda and are frustrated about certain things.

“Your job is that of a policeman or a policewoman; do your work; just do your work. I am talking to them directly; you know that you are not a civil servant, that you are a policeman,” said the Minister of National Security.(LC)

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