MEMBERS of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force were on Friday reminded how much they are needed, especially as the country experiences an unprecedented crime wave. To date, that crime wave has resulted in 29 homicides and caused the hospitalization of several others.
Acting Police Commissioner, Milton Desir, who was last Friday confirmed in his substantive role as Deputy Police Commissioner by the Public Service Commission (PSC), told the Force’s hierarchy and ranks that the country depends heavily on them.
“The country now, more than ever, requires our fullest support and cooperation. We must remain professionals in all that we do. We must serve our country with dignity and pride and help create a safer environment for all our people in St. Lucia,” Desir said.
Desir told the gathering that as members of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force they needed to observe the Force’s policing principles as set out in the Standing Orders.
“One such principle is to recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, action, behaviour and their ability to serve and maintain respect,” Desir said.
According to Desir, the job is not just to serve the people of St. Lucia but also to create a livelihood for police officers and their families; hence the need for them to remain employable by performing at a high standard and demonstrating good attitude and conduct.
“All of you have the ability to manage your performance. What you put in is what you will get out of it,” Desir said.
To those officers who were not promoted, Desir told them that it did not mean that their efforts were not appreciated. He called on them to remain steadfast, resilient and focused as ambassadors to their country.
National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, said the country was experiencing an unprecedented crime wave.
“In this time in our history, we have seen an unprecedented crime wave hitting our country (and) the public wants the police to take care of that crime situation,” he said.
Francis defended police officers by stating that he knew they are doing their best within the confines of what is available to them.
“You are a police force that over the past few years has been neglected. The police stations are dilapidated, the vehicles are almost 10–15 years old, the training for officers as we know is not forthcoming, because of the situation that we have found ourselves in with the Leahy Law and the IMPACS Report,” Francis added.
Despite the inattention paid to certain aspects of the police force operations over the years by the Government, Francis told the promoted officers that a lot is expected from them as they go through the ranks of the police force.
“Those going from constables to corporals — this is a new adventure. You need to take that job very seriously. Those from corporals to sergeants — more are expected from you,” Francis said.
He added: “There is a common saying that respect should be earned and not demanded. In our profession as police officers, we do get away with the fact that naturally the onus is on us to earn a high level of respect and regard from the people we serve. We can do this by demonstrating the values of integrity, efficiency, proper conduct effective communication and reliability.”
He said the promotions were a result of the officers’ excellent execution of their duties that have produced extraordinary results.
“I would like to encourage all our officers to remain committed and dedicated to the job. There will undoubtedly be challenges and hurdles, but you must keep persevering to get the job done,” he said.
Desir and Francis were at the time addressing the Commissioner’s Parade and Promotion Ceremony at the Derek Walcott Square last Friday where four corporals were promoted to sergeants and twelve constables to corporals.