Nonsense. That’s the word Police Commissioner Paul Rolle uses to describe suggestions that perhaps, just perhaps, the decline in crime last year was influenced by the fact that the streets were locked down in curfew each night for a large chunk of the year.
He says it’s all down to the work of his officers. Apparently, having blockades on the streets at night and people not being allowed out of their home at night or at weekends didn’t have a thing to do with it.
He said: “Y’all have to give us the credit because we have done a whole lot and when crime goes up, we take responsibility. So, the least that people could do is credit us when we get a reduction, so I mean I commend our officers for the work that they’ve done and continue to do.
“This has nothing to do with COVID. I never saw COVID gone out and lock nobody up and I ain’t see COVID on patrol. We were out there.”
We appreciate the reduction in crime figures most sincerely. Commissioner Rolle is right to say we are a long way from the peak of 145 murders in 2015. Last year, the police say there were 73 murders in total. That is welcome.
But let’s not pretend that the clampdown had nothing to do with it. We would happily credit the police for their work if they were realistic about it and noted the lockdowns were a factor.
Which criminals were out driving around streets that were empty of everyone but police officers? Which criminals were walking down the road with a gun in their pocket knowing they could get stopped just for being outside their door before they could commit their crime? Which robbers were out late at night with all the businesses closed and nowhere to rob?
Come on, Commissioner – don’t be so quick to boast that you don’t acknowledge how we got here.
At some point, the COVID restrictions will lift – and if there is no increase in crime, then take the plaudits then. Until then, admit it played a part. Or else it sounds like you’re the one talking nonsense.
Also, we might note, the commissioner’s handling of the announcement of figures relating to suicides shows appalling misjudgment.
He attributes some of the suicides to “weak” men in domestic disputes who killed themselves because they were having problems with their partners.
He said: “What I can tell you is that we had a few of those that we know were domestic related where the fellas are weak and they killed themselves because they were having issues with their females.
“I could leave that right there because to go further than that would require more research.”
He also said he had “not done a scientific research”. With language like that, clearly he hasn’t. Perhaps before he opens his mouth about the topic of suicide, he might like to avail himself of the huge amount of research that has been done into the subject.
Commissioner Rolle’s words only add to the stigma that surrounds suicide – a stigma that sees it treated as a weakness and not a need for help, a stigma that sees a suicide hotline ignored as a national priority as has been detailed in this newspaper previously.
As a society, we continue to stigmatise people with suicidal thoughts. Branding them as weak makes it less likely that they reach out for help in case they are dismissed as simply not being strong enough. It makes it less likely that resources are devoted to help people at risk of suicide, because people are treated as if they can get through it just by being “strong”. It diminishes the impact of depression, which is not a choice but a disorder that many wrestle with, even those seemingly successful in other ways.
People who commit suicide are not weak, Commissioner Rolle, they are in need of help. And by your words, you make it clear that they will not find it from you.