Police and citizens need to work hand-in-hand to effectively prevent crime in communities.
This was underscored by former Deputy Commissioner of the Barbados Police Service, Oral Williams, during his address at the opening ceremony of the Regional Security System’s (RSS) International Leadership and Management Course, for senior police officials from across RSS Member States.
Mr. Williams stressed the importance of retaining public support in crime prevention, and noted that there was an existing contract between the constabulary and the citizenry, permitting police to act on the behalf of the community in the fight to maintain law and order.
The former law enforcement official reminded the officers that police depended highly on public cooperation to successfully carry out investigations, and urged them to make an effort to build and maintain the necessary trust.
“An effective police department does not, have and ought not to be, boasting of high arrest rates and subsequent convictions. The test of success in policing your community ought to be the low crime rates in the community… You as an officer must respect the community principles. Winning support requires hard work to build a reputation, enforcing the laws impartially, recruiting officers who understand the community they serve, and officers who use force when necessary and as a last resort,” he asserted.
Mr. Williams further appealed to officers to be respectful in their communication with members of the public and advised them to never abuse their authority.
“The public must know that when they call for a service, their call is attended to by an officer competent to deal with the matter at hand… If you are rude or unnecessarily violent to a person or family member today, how could you or another member of the Department go to that home the following day to seek information in relation to the matter or asking for footage and expect cooperation?” Mr. Williams queried.
The retired officer, commended the RSS for implementing the programme, especially at a time when leaders in law enforcement were faced with numerous challenges for which they must be better equipped.
“We are living in a dynamic environment, with the goal posts of a just and fair society constantly shifting with concomitant challenges. In this region there is COVID, and the social economic and political fallout, with law enforcement having to play a major role in a health crisis. Persons here have become more conscious of their rights and are demanding action in these areas,” he outlined.
The International Leadership and Management Course is being hosted in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Durham Constabulary. The three-week programme is being conducted at the RSS Training Institute and will afford some of the successful participants the opportunity to complete Level Five of the programme in the UK.