By Sheldon Bramble

How are police officers recruited in SVG? Will this give us a clue as to how we end up with this communication style across the board on the part of SVG police?

Senior police officers of SVG, are you modelling the best of your profession to your junior officers? Are you teaching them not to abuse their authority and to treat fellow Vincentians with equality and dignity?

My fellow Vincentians, have you ever been addressed politely by a police officer in SVG? With words like, “sir”, “miss”, “madam” and “please”, “excuse me”, “pardon me”, “just a moment”, etc.?

Maybe you have. But, how about those words with a matching attitude and tone of voice, which is not intimidating, accusatory, belittling or humiliating? A tone and demeanour that preserve your dignity or does not deem you a criminal, reflecting an attitude that you are innocent until it’s proven that you are guilty and respectful of your human rights?

Police officers of SVG, are you making it a practice here in SVG to speak to your fellow Vincentians in a professional manner, with kindness, intelligence, in a helpful manner, and with a voice which does not reflect any hints of a slave master or tyrant?

If we were to poll Vincentians regarding their encounters with police officers in SVG, will we feel proud of the quality service these professionals are rendering to the public especially in their communication style?

“Huffing up” is the way a lot of Vincentians exercise their roles in authority, belittling and speaking down to others with no attempt to preserve the humanity of others. We, sadly, see this with teachers, senior nurses, and others serving pubic institutions. Instead of pointing out an error for example in driving, a policeman would rather say something like, “Can you get out of your vehicle and go read that sign?” — insulting the intelligence of an accused driver. However, implying that someone is stupid or lacking sense is not a professional way to exercise authority. Yet, we see this communication style playing out in conversations with the SVG police and members of the public. It is a crying shame!

The police in SVG need to lift their standards or communication with Vincentian citizens. I am calling on the ones in charged to aggressively train those in their care in this regard. This while encouraging Vincentians to report verbal and other abuses on the part of our cops to authorities and make any such abuses known to the public.

Police officers in SVG, you are not without accountability to this nation. You are not the law or above the law. Almighty God sees your actions when there may be no other witnesses. Be an example of healthy authority figures for our youth and everyone in SVG. Reflect peace in the way you speak.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

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