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Peter pay for Paul society?

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Tue Oct 22, 2013

Editor: Last weekend, the front page of your publication carried a story relating to the possible banning of the wearing of hoodies in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. {{more}}

In an effort to curb the use of this clothing item in the commission of crime, the Commissioner of Police (Ag.) Michael Charles is quoted as saying “Because of a few bad eggs, general people will have to suffer.” If, as the response infers, the Commissioner agrees that the large majority of the Vincentian populace are law-abiding citizens, how can any Commissioner of Police or policy maker seek to fight crime by making the wider populace “criminals”? It is wholly unfair that in an effort to fight crime that the police force can, without consultation, send recommendations that would affect the public without debate. Are hoodies the root of the wave of stealing and robberies across St Vincent? Would banning the use of hoodies across our island state translate into being “tough on crime and the causes of crime?”

Undoubtedly, this is now another sorry episode of Peter paying for Paul and Paul paying for all society, as those in authority are always short-sighted in the tools they employ to fight crime. If the Commissioner of Police would have done even an iota of analysis, before spewing arbitrary policy recommendations, he would realize that the banning of hoodies does not have a positive impact on crime in any part of the world. In fact, the debate surrounding the wearing of hoodies has always been a discriminatory response in predominately black communities.

Instead of blinding us with a façade of policing, Vincentians by and large would be happy if the police service applies basic policing techniques, such as community policing in hot spots, proper case and file management and professionalism in their level of service. If proper chain of custody procedures are observed and officers show up to court well prepared, then this will help in the overall standards of crime fighting here. If a call is made for legislative changes that would incorporate the use of information technology as basic as typewritten case files, then the service would have become more efficient. If there was a call for the National Forensic Laboratory to be fully operationalized, then the public would have cheered. However, as victims and communities often sleep with deep breaths, the Commissioner dishes out the mundane.

On that note, of all the few bad eggs in the police force, you never hear Peter or Charles paying for all in that band of law enforcers. Recent history has shown that convicted criminals are part of the cadre that “protect and serve.” It’s time for us to stop slighting crime fighting with copy and paste initiatives that are unproven and only harass the general public and waste policing resources. Vincentians have no problem playing their part in fighting crime, but what will be next, our handkerchiefs or caps for when the sun is hot? I contend, banning hoodies is not part of the solution as the good Commissioner should know, “where there is a lack of an item, a substitute will suffice.”

Adaiah Providence-Culzac

cemsvg@gmail.com

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