Three Cheers for the RSLPF

Image: Police officers kept the beat and the peace in Vieux Fort for the holidays, much to the appreciation of citizens. (PHOTO: Kingsley Emmanuel)

Three cheers for the hierarchy of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force for the stance it took over a video circulating on social media involving a police officer and a male civilian. In that video, a police officer is clearly seen mercilessly beating the unarmed and apparently helpless man with a blunt object.

Saint Lucians are all too familiar with scenes like this beamed to them from the United States of America to their social media platforms or their television screens where such behaviour by police officers are the norm rather than the exception.

There is no question that a police force is a powerful agency in maintaining law and order in a country and as such its men and women need to be respected by the country’s citizens. That respect goes both ways in that police officers must also respect the citizenry for law and order to exist.

Never must it be forgotten that in order to maintain law and order police officers must firmly deal with occurrences of theft, violence, and disturbances to the peace and safety of the citizenry. However, to go further, like engaging in excessive force could lead to the very same thing our police force over the years have repeatedly tried to avoid, being in an estranged relationship with the public.

Police working hand in hand with communities in Saint Lucia augur well for the maintenance of law and order in the country.

Therefore it was heartening to hear Elvis Thomas, Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police condemning the actions of the police in that particular video by saying that what the hierarchy of the police force saw in that video was not the regular practice of members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force and as such an investigation would be immediately launched in the matter and that a senior police officer was assigned to investigate.

Superintendent Thomas went on to say that the actions of the police officers as seen in the video were rather unfortunate and not a true representation of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force.

“Rest assured we will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this and we will leave no stone unturned. Based on the outcome of this matter a decision will be made as to the actions to be taken by the Commissioner of Police,” were his reassuring words to the public.

Even more heartening was when Thomas made the point that the police hierarchy does not subscribe to such behaviour and will never do.

“Rest assured we will address this matter and I want to urge you the public to have faith and confidence in us. we want to remind all police officers that we will support them whenever they act within the confines of the law but will not hesitate to take action when your actions are contrary to the law,” were Thomas’ heartening words to the public.

We understand that a letter was prepared from the office of the Commissioner of Police instructing the officer involved in the matter to proceed on vacation leave effective immediately pending the outcome of the investigations.

Once again we applaud the determination of the hierarchy of the police in dealing with this rather discomforting matter and look forward to seeing more of this type of spirit from Commissioner Severin Monchery and his executive whenever the need arises.

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