The head of the umbrella agency for private security professionals is recommending the immediate use of body cameras for Barbadian police, as well as immigration and customs officers.
Chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (CASP) Oral Reid told a news conference this morning that would help boost accountability in these policing departments.
“I can certainly see it being applied in customs and certainly within immigration and within the police department,” Reid, a retired assistant superintendent of police told reporters at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination on the first anniversary of CASP.
However, he said he did not support private security personnel being fitted with such devices just yet.
“We believe that before we begin to advocate its use broadly, that those persons who are clearly not as well trained as others should be provided with the mechanisms through which they can develop competence. Once that competence is developed, then we can proceed to institute measures such as that with a view of ensuring that a standard of excellence is supported throughout,” Reid explained.
“For the other law enforcement agencies, I think it is important and should be applied at this time, but for the private security practitioners, let’s see how we can train them first and bring them up the line.”
Responding to a question about the increasing number of police officers finding themselves on the wrong side of the law, Reid contended that no matter what profession one was in, issues of misconduct would always come to light.
He said what was more important was how such reports were dealt with by the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
The retired senior police officer pointed to research which he said demonstrated that the local constabulary attracted greater public respect from the public than others in the rest of the region.
“We had a piece of research that was done in 2012 by the Mona Campus in Jamaica, which showed that the level of respect the public had for the Royal Barbados Police Force was by far higher than what was demonstrated by persons in other countries of the Caribbean,” he said, adding that he did not believe the police had fallen far from that.
The top security executive noted that while the RBPF was experiencing some challenges, he was confident they would be addressed quickly.
The CASP chairman encouraged Barbadians to continue to cooperate with the police to fight crime but urged them not to engage in vigilante justice.
“We need to guard against that because if you have an establishment that is paid out of the public purse to be engaged in the protection of individuals, we need to give them the opportunity to deal with those issues,” he said.