More than 50 police recruits from forces in Anguilla, Barbados and the British Virgin Islands were given sound advice yesterday on being the best officers they could be.
It came from Attorney-at-Law Jefferson Cumberbatch as he addressed the 137th passing out parade of 52 officers at the Regional Police Training Centre.
Speaking on the topic, Ethics in Policing, he noted that ethical conduct was the conscience of every profession, and as such, as a representative of law in their respective countries, the officers rights and duties were provided within the law.
He advised that they should avoid any temptation to act outside that mandate as provided by law, regardless of what the perceived outcome could be.
“The power of the state is not absolute and thus, neither is yours which is derivative from the state. Ethical conduct in this context demands that you familiarise yourself with the limits of your police power and the relation with that of other law enforcement agencies both as their respective geographical and substantive jurisdictions.
“Ethical responsibility to your community requires that as a police officer you must lead by example. You must be careful not to overtly disregard the law, public safety or the property rights of others … Neither should you be overbearing or overly submissive in your official conduct.
“No private citizen has the duty to be in awe of you or the right to command you. Hence you ought not to place yourself in a position where any person may expect special consideration as a result of gifts, favours or his or her perceived status,” Cumberbatch said.
He stressed that officers as well had no legal right to prosecute or punish individuals suspected of criminal offenses as those persons also had rights that should be observed. Failure to do so, he noted, could result in acquittal on a technicality.
The senior lecture in the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, told the officers that they should take full advantage of whatever knowledge or educational opportunities they could.
The recruits were presented with awards for their accomplishments during training. The late Darwin Downes and colleague Jillian Matthias from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force won the Best at Physical Training – male and female respectively; Best at Evidence Procedure went to Leonardo Richardson of the Royal Anguilla Police Force; Best at Officers’ Safety Training and First Aid went to Cherrydelle Cunningham-Coombs of the RAPF and Desmond Weekes of the RBPF and Most Outstanding Overseas Student was Delma Tavernier of the RVIPF. Ronald Als, the Most Outstanding Barbadian Student, also won, Best and Multi-Disciplined Subjects, Best at Weapons Training, Best at Police Duty Subjects; Student with Highest Aggregate, the Commandant’s Trophy and the Baton of Honour. (LB)