Having heard the Minister of National Security addressing the pepper-spraying incident of former Deputy Superintendent of Police Altamont (Parro ) Campbell by the police, I was stunned that the Minister would publicly offer an opinion in his capacity as Minister of National Security while the incident was fresh and still under investigation.
More consequential to himself I thought, was the fact that the Minister would offer opinions without the requisite knowledge of the laws and the(RT, Act) Road Traffic Act in particular.
The Minister, a medical Doctor, is not a lawyer or police officer.
He isn’t a former police officer either, So the Minister for all intents and purposes, is no more, no less, than an average citizen on this issue. Chang says the Senior cop did not behave appropriately. He says it’s the type of behavior noted among politicians and others who feel they are above the law.
The National Security Minister says it’s the Senior cop’s aggressive behavior that caused the on-duty policeman to use the pepper spray.
I was with the minister on the need to obey the laws and particularly when he referenced politicians and others in the society who believe they are above the laws.
Nevertheless, his assessment on what transpired is a rapid departure from what I and countless others saw on the video and my understanding of the Road Traffic Act.
The minister has made some missteps including likening the police to glorified security guards, and not defending the cops when he needed to since he took office. I believe that the Minister’s attempt to defend the officer in this case, may be an attempt to ingratiate himself with the police after his previous missteps.
And so the Minister has found himself running protection for commissioner of police Antony Anderson who is himself not a police officer or lawyer and so he cannot respond to issues of this nature with any degree of authority either, without embarrassing himself.
Neither scenarios of the Minister running protection for Commissioner Anderson, nor Commissioner Anderson playing it safe so as not to embarrass himself, absolves the so-called Police high command, which has incompetently failed once again to be out front on this, as it has on so many other issues.
The Police has an information arm which is something which it never had during my brief stint in the late ’80s to early ’90s. Why was there no official statement from the inept police high command?
Why did the Commissioner of Police hide from the media when he could have stepped in front of the microphones and given a generic statement like the following.
[We take note of the incident involving one of our officers and a member of the public”. “We have protocols in place to ensure the safety of the public when they come in contact with our officers, at the same time, we fully appreciate the difficult circumstances under which our officers are asked to perform their duties. As a consequence, we ask the public to allow the process to play out and the investigation to come to a conclusion.
We promise that the process will be fair to all parties as we are bound to protect the public, while ensuring the safety and security of our officers.]
The foregone was a generic statement we drafted which the Commissioner of police could have made to the media or send his media person out to make.
It would indicate to a skeptical public that the lethargic police were not asleep at the wheel.
At the same time, Deputy Commissioner of Police Selvin Hay who was appointed Inspector General of the JCF told the media that he has not done an inventory to see whether solutions are available, after pepper spray has been employed, but he said the High Command will be rolling out a suite of less-lethal weapons to help police maintain law and order. This is likely to include more pepper spray, tasers, batons and handcuffs. “Everything is being looked at, so if there is not sufficient, then we will certainly look at where they are needed, because there is never ever any plan to put the officer out there, both for him to be at risk and for him to be at risk to the citizen,” he said.
Of course, being a part of the high command Hay could not avoid stuffing his foot all the way into his own mouth.
Quote; A lot of people just jump on the word ‘training’ as if we have this Police College that trains people to be disrespectful and unprofessional and unconscionable.”
“Nobody trains anybody to shoot without justification or to spray somebody without justification; that is not what training does. It is a supervisory regime that needs to be improved and people being held accountable. That is what needs to be improved.”
I beg to differ, it is about training. Supervisory breakdowns are about training your own attitude indicates it is about training.
In every instance that there is a breakdown of established protocols training has to be re-evaluated to see what can be fine-tuned or done differently.
But Haye’ comment is typical of a [so-called high command] which has consistently seen itself as different and detached from the officers on the front line.
As I have said maybe a thousand times, get rid of some of the Selvin Hayes and give me a good constable determined to serve the public, and I feel a lot better any day.