The leaking of voice notes from a private conversation among members of the Police Welfare Association this week has led to questions about the extent to which the public can give information in confidence to police officers. But Commissioner of Police Renald Hadaway told iWitness News that the public should have no such fear. “That’s something totally different. And I would not concur with such statement,” he said when the question was put to him. “There is a high level of trust and confidentiality within the organisation. We continue to speak to those issues because we know the importance of the relationship between the police and the public. “Yes, some persons may take it to say, ‘We can’t trust the police.’ But by and large, we have credible police officers and we have police officers that are trustworthy and that persons can confide in and get the issues addressed in the best way possible,” Hadaway said.
In the leaked voice notes, members of the PWA discuss strategies to get the police high command and the government to respond to their need. Among the suggestions was that they “storm” the office of the prime minister. Some persons have said that the police officers were threatening force against the prime minister, but lawyer for the PWA, Israel Bruce said that was not the case. “It is my understanding that the use of the term “storm” the prime minister’s office was made with an understanding and appreciation that when we go to the prime minister’s office, we will be very forceful with what our representations are. And so that is the context in which it was said that they would storm the prime minister’s office,” Bruce told iWitness News. Even the police high command itself seems unconvinced, so far, that the men were threatening physical force against the prime minister. The police force has launched an internal rather than a criminal investigation, although Hadaway says that the force has not ruled out criminal proceedings against the officers believed to have been involved. Three members of the PWA have been transferred to districts furthest away from Kingstown since the voice notes were leaked.