Commissioner of Police Colin John, on Monday, addressed a large gathering of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) on issues affecting the integrity of the organisation.
The Police Public Relations Department said on Tuesday that John addressed members of the police high command, gazetted officers corps as well as rank and file members at the Old Montrose Police Station Lecture Hall.
The police chief spoke directly to the issue of the three police officers who were recently arrested and charged for various criminal offences.
Three corporals of police, each with over 20 years of service, were last week suspended from duty pending the outcome of criminal charges against them.
Corporal Derek Humphrey, of Chauncey, has been charged with the rape of a 15-year-old girl.
Corporal Michael Lynch, of Peter’s Hope, originally of Layou, is also charged with rape. He is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman who was placed in protective custody, as she is a witness in a murder case.
And, Corporal Enkem Richards, a police officer of Colonarie, was charged with entering his neighbour’s house as a trespasser and assaulting the said neighbour.
The police press release said that the police chief “definitively stated that under no circumstances will the organisation condone any unlawful acts being perpetrated by a member of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force”.
He reiterated that police officers take an oath and have a vested responsibility to protect the citizens of SVG and visitors to the country.
John, a lawyer and former prosecutor, however, noted that as is the case with every other accused person, the police officers who were charge are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law and that the law should be allowed to take its course.
The commissioner further stated that he will not compromise the integrity of the police force for anyone and reminded the officers of the consequences of being caught up in corrupt practices merely for a few dollars and the risks involved, not only for themselves but also to their families and colleagues.
John thanked the hard working members of the organization for their support and encouraged them to continue on that path as the force embarks on a quest to rebuild the trust between the general public and the police.
The commissioner highlighted some initiatives that have been employed to bridge the gap between the police and the public.
These include the Police Youth Clubs, Pan against Crime, Police Band and Coast Guard summer programmes and the DARE programme, which he stated are also some of the force’s crime prevention methods.
The Commissioner highlighted that crime generally has been on the decrease in most categories in recent years including 2019.
The commissioner said that, at November 2018, there were 33 reported murders, compared to 19 for the same period in 2019.
He attributed this reduction to the commendable effort and dedication of members of the police force to the prevention and detection of crimes.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph told the gathering that all police officers are placed in a position of responsibility and reminded the officers that they are servants of the people.
Joseph stressed that the police force has, over the years, placed tremendous emphasis on initiatives that aid in building trust between the police force and the general public.
The deputy police chief reminded the officers that it only takes one second for that trust to evaporate, adding that in any relationship the easiest thing to vanish is trust and it will take many years to rebuild it.
He commended the efforts embarked upon to form the Police Youth Clubs (PYC) throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines and also congratulated PYC’s football, netball and basketball teams and management for winning the 2019 SVG Community Colleges Invitational Tournament.
Other senior officers and rank and file members of the organization including Assistant Commissioner Richard Browne and Station Sergeant Brenton Smith, chairman of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) also addressed the meeting.
Police end of year events
Meanwhile, the police force as part of its crime fighting strategy, public awareness outreach and public relations initiatives will hold its annual Christmas Crime Prevention Showcase on Friday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m. in front of the Central Police Station.
Then, on Dec. 13, 2019, the force will hold its carolling competition at 7 p.m. at Central Police Station Yard.
Dec. 21 will be the turn of the children of police officers to partake in the annual Children’s Christmas Party.
The final major event for the RSVGPF for 2019 will be the Annual Police Awards and Retirement Ceremony on Dec. 27at the Russell’s auditorium from 6:30 p.m.