Acting Commissioner of Police Colin John has confirmed that a police corporal was transferred in July because he allowed Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday to tour the police station in Owia.
The police chief further said that the decision was fully his and said that he stands by it, saying that the officer did not observe police protocol.
“It is not because it was the Leader of the Opposition. There are certain areas in the police force that are out of bounds for members of the public,” John said on Boom FM on Monday.
“For members of the public to access that area, they must get the expressed permission of the commissioner of police.”
Among those areas, he mentioned “the back of the station”.
“What was reported to me was the police officer was there on duty, the Leader of the Opposition and two other persons came there and they asked them to see the station. He allowed them in without seeking the approval of the commissioner.
“They went there and took photos and things of that nature,” he said.
He said such actions could be a security breach.
“There are certain protocols regarding the organisation,” he said, adding that it is “coincidental that the person who visited the police station was the Leader of the Opposition.
The top cop said the decision was totally his.
“No discussion with anyone else. It was a breach of protocol,” he said, adding that he would have made the same decision had the person visited the station been anyone else, including a government senator or minister of government.
“As I said, it is just protocol. You need to follow a certain protocol. You get the permission of the commissioner of Police for such visits to take place.
John said he subsequently spoke to the police officer who “indicated that he did not know about what he was supposed to do.
“So, I told him, well, in the future, things like that, you know you have to clear it with the commissioner.”
He said the Owia Police Station falls under the leadership of the Georgetown Police Station and the officer should have called his superiors at Georgetown, and that officer would have sought that permission.
“It is an internal mechanism, an internal protocol within the organisation,” he said, adding that the transfer was not punishment.
“It is just that I felt that he should have been more responsible and that he did not adhere to the protocol so I felt that he needed to be somewhere where he needed to be more supervised.”
The host, Dwight “Bing” Joseph laughed as the commissioner was responding.
Joseph said: “I laughed because I can’t see that decision being made if Julian Francis turned up to a police station in Owia and you would do the same. I find it very difficult to believe that would have taken place.”
The police chief said, “It would have.”
The officer has been transferred to Kingstown, “where he is supervised,” John said.
“At Owia, you have some degree of autonomy out there. He was there at a decision where he was in a position to make decisions on his own… So, where he is now, he is more supervised, where other persons are there more immediately above him.”