Sociologist, Dr. Wendy Crawford-Daniel has called on Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell, as well as Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James to ensure that there is no victimisation of Police Officers because of differing political views.
Dr. Crawford-Daniel who was the Guest speaker at the Annual Police Awards and Retirement Ceremony last week Saturday said too many times Police Officers are relieved from the service or arbitrarily moved around from station to station because of their political opinions or affiliations.
“We have to put an end to political victimisation of Police Officers. It isn’t serving us well,” she told the gathering.
Since his return to power following the February general elections, Prime Minister Mitchell has moved to sideline Willan Thompson, the Commissioner of Police who was appointed to the post by the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
Two other senior police officers, Assistant Commissioners of Police Smith Roberts and Dowlin Bartholomew have been forced on leave and since then allegedly received letters seeking to remove them from their positions within the force.
Speculation is rife that the new rulers in St. George’s are bent on promoting officers known to be aligned to Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP) as replacements for Roberts and Bartholomew.
One of the officers named has been accused by a retired Woman Police Constable of sexual abuse before she quit the police force.
Acting Commissioner James has announced a criminal probe into the allegations including one of rape against a Superintendent of Police following graphic description carried about the incident by this newspaper.
No public statement has been made on the progress of the investigation being spearheaded by Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Superintendent Trevor Modeste.
The former police officer who made the accusation of sexual abuse against the three senior police officers is yet to be contacted as part of the promised investigation.
In her address to police officers, Dr. Crawford-Daniel implored Police Officers to refrain from abusing their power, and to stamp out any corruption within their midst.
A former supporter of the 1979-83 left-leaning People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), the university lecturer, said that politics has historically been the source of much corruption and abuse of law enforcement power in Grenada.
She argued that attitude towards the police is often influenced by people’s attitude towards the political system.
Dr. Crawford-Daniel also addressed the issue of equity in the system, pointing out that there should not be a culture where female Officers perceive that in order to advance in their careers the only sure route is to sleep with other Officers who can facilitate that promotion.
The Guest Speaker also admonished the Police Officers to pay attention to their personal development.
She encouraged them to focus on their softer skills, which, according to her, distinguish them and are the skills upon which the people they serve evaluate their activity.
“It is not how many arrests you have made, traffic violators you have caught, or persons you have accused to be convicted. Respect for self, human dignity and basic human rights are not just buzz words, but strongly imply your Mission Statement: “To Protect And Serve” through the delivery of professional service to ensure a safe society,” she said.
Dr. Crawford-Daniel admonished the men and women in uniform to take pride in their job and their uniform.
She appealed to Acting Commissioner James to ensure that there is continued education and training for all members of RGPF.
She spoke of being heartened to see the number of Police Officers who are advancing academically and professionally at various educational institutions locally and regionally in specialised training.
“I urge the Royal Grenada Police Force to continue to encourage and to ensure the professional development of your current Officers. Let it be a policy you embark upon, seek to elevate the profession further by attracting more and more qualified people, and do not be threatened by qualification and youthfulness. They can only serve to lift the profile of the Force and make the profession a very attractive option,” she said.
Dr. Crawford-Daniel implored the Police Officers to be aware that professionalism does not mean hostility and insensitivity.