The controversial issue of officers who run afoul of the law was discussed at a special meeting of the Royal Barbados Police Force today.
The meeting, which was summoned by Acting Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, came against the backdrop of what he said were “trying times” for the island’s constabulary and a 14 per cent spike in overall crime for the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2014.
In recent weeks, the Force has also been faced with significant public criticism over its handling of the arrest of police constable Everton Gittens, who was formally charged last week with murder, endangering life and wounding following the shooting death of Selwyn Knight on March 15 and injury of his son Junior.
Asked directly if the issue of officers who run afoul of the law was discussed, Griffith said: “Of course we would have addressed that.”
He made it clear that “one thing we are not going to do is hide up bad conduct”.
“We are not going to do that,” he insisted.
The police chief further emphasized that the Force’s responsibility was to maintain a very professional organization. “So we discussed those matters and we are not going to stop trying to weed out any bad apples,” he stressed.
Pressed on the issue, Griffith said he did not necessarily have to give officers at the meeting any strong words because he was always firm on discipline.
“I believe this is a time that we have to be disciplined; but by and large, our people are quite well disciplined. The majority of our people do really well. There are individuals like anywhere else, that are bent on unethical things; we actually don’t have any space for them [bad cops],” he warned.
Furthermore, Griffith said the majority of his officers would not hesitate to expose “bad apples”.