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EDITORIAL: COP not inspiring confidence in face of criticisms

POLICE Commissioner Clayton Fernander spoke to the media on a number of issues – but was not necessarily clear in answering some of the concerns.

He spoke – as you can read in our lead story today – about the arrest incentive system that has drawn some criticism.

Indeed, when The Tribune asked the Minister of National Security, Wayne Munroe, about the existence of the scheme, he dismissed it as “fake news”.

Now that it has been confirmed not once but twice, Mr Munroe may need to clarify why he thought it was fake.

The scheme awards points to teams based on the number of arrests made for minor and major offences, and also for activities such as stopping and searching people and issuing tickets.

Yesterday, Commissioner Fernander, in defending the scheme, said: “Even a dog, if he does something good, the handler awards him.”

He called it an “in-house friendly competition” and did not seem to note any concerns about the scheme.

For example, if officers are to gain personally – and potentially materially – from such things as traffic stops and issuing tickets, does that open the door to the possibility that they might be overly officious in such activities, stopping people when it is not necessary?

The Tribune received a video recently from a traffic stop in which a taxi driver was detained with his arms on the car as tourists in the car recorded the incident.

The driver complied with the officers’ instructions, but said to them – in a pleasant manner – that what they were doing was too much, it was unnecessary.

The tourists themselves were then reportedly told to get out of the cab and they were searched too.

Now, this was just one traffic stop – but as there was just an island-wide operation, the thought might creep in wondering whether this is to stop crime or to win an internal contest.

Broader police operations are surely not for such purposes – but it will not stop some being stopped from challenging officers over their motives. And if actions are seen as excessive, doubt may creep in.

There is of course always a need to encourage staff, whatever the business, but connecting it to the detention of citizens is questionable, to say the least.

Heaven help if any officer actually does impinge on civil liberties in order to improve their score back at the station.

The Commissioner also spoke up on several other issues. He said the police force is learning from the outcomes of Coroner’s Court inquests – several recently have ruled on police killings as being homicide by manslaughter. He did not say what would be learned – and he incorrectly said that he could not comment because the matters are before the court. Two out of three matters are not currently before the court.

He also spoke about a recent incident in which a woman complained she had been assaulted by an officer after he made comments about her figure – and that she was also arrested.

He said a bodycam was worn by one of the officers involved in the arrest and that was being reviewed – but there was no suggestion that the bodycam footage would be made public.

However, he was firm about an incident involving a viral video showing an officer striking a schoolboy with a baton, saying that the behaviour of the officer was not a good representation of the force and that he wanted the matter to be dealt with swiftly.

The presence of the video in that seems to have encouraged swift action – perhaps the release of bodycam footage in the other incident might move things along in that case too?

We all want to have the greatest confidence we can in police – signs such as the swift movement on the case of the boy being struck are welcome.

There are other areas where there is perhaps uncertainty whether the right decisions are being made – on the incentive scheme, for example – or where greater transparency in dealing with police complaints would be welcomed, and where being sure of the right facts, such as on what matters are before court, would bring confidence that the issue really is being dealt with properly instead of it just being an off-the-cuff reply.

In some areas then, applause. In others, the force could still do better.

Comments

moncurcool 7 months, 1 week ago

The COP is another example of what happens when you put incompetent people in top positions who are incapable of leadership based on political patronage.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

This week their was alot of discussion about our educational system and the number of children failing. Where do these failing people go? They lead us. It's a very frightening thought.

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themessenger 7 months, 1 week ago

This man is absolutely clueless, every time he opens his mouth he just changes whichever foot he has in it.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

"Mr Munroe may need to clarify why he thought it was fake"

It sounded too dumb to be true?

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

How impactful would it be if every single person who filed a complaint with the police in the last 5 years stood for 5mins to read a graphic account of their ordeal... one after the other, nationally televised and the commissioner, the governor general and all MPs had to sit and listen. Something is wrong. Sometimes this place reminds me of the war torn Africa accounts where people are just kidnapped like it's nothing and our leaders just give a "I havent heard a complaint". What if this was their or wife or son? Women, teenagers young men, pummelled, punched, body slammed, beaten with bats and belts, fishbagged... some mysteriously dead and noone in the station saw a thing. Where is Marvin Pratt(?) Taken into police custody and never seen again. Disappeared off the earth like he was nothing. And now they get points?

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mandela 7 months, 1 week ago

We need more persons like Ms. Galanos whose work should not be confused with Mr. F. Smith, who will stand up to these tyrants and defend the rights of the common man, until the RBPF is held accountable nothing will change

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Greentea 7 months, 1 week ago

This man, this incentive program, the police force in the Bahamas - all trash. This program can go bad so easily that Blind Blake could see that. And it will go very bad. Watch and wait.

See that Bahamian young man who was just made police chief in Miami Beach- He probably would never even get promoted in the Bahamas. That is why the good continue to leave and the leftovers and incompetent political cronies continue to rise even as the entire ship sinks under their so called leadership. Look how smug this dude is. He thinks this is a great idea- brilliant! clever! Ship of fools. Insert long suck teeth here.

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