One senior police officer wants his colleagues in the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to treat members of the public “with dignity”.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce has warned that despite the power given to police officers, it was critical that they maintained the trust and respect of those whom they have sworn to protect.
He made the comments while delivering the feature address at the closing ceremony of the Basic 3W’s Criminal Investigation Course at the Regional Police Training Centre yesterday.
“One of the greatest concerns within the organization is how we treat people. In other words the extent to which we acknowledge the dignity of the human being in the execution of our duty, and I need to emphasize that, because from time to time we see allegations of abuse of power and it is founded on a complaint of ill-treatment or maltreatment,” Boyce told the 20 graduates.
“… A human being has dignity. Policing is about people. Policing means meeting people, creating interaction. Yes we can give you all of the equipment you want and all of the technology you want, but fundamentally it is about dealing with people and dealing with people with dignity.
“…You need to recognize the dignity of human beings in the execution of your duty and that is paramount. We cannot help but re-emphasise that,” he maintained.
Boyce said he believed it was possible for police officers to carry out their duties without infringing on the rights of others.
“I believe that in any situation, you must be aware that is indeed very much possible and practical to meet the workers of your duties, without violating the rights of others. That is, without viewing the other person in a condescending manner.
“We must always remember that we operate in an open theatre, subject to public scrutiny at all times. As investigators I encourage you to remember that our function as police officers rests to a large extent on the complete understanding of the principle of fairness and human treatment. It is founded in the oath of allegiance for police officers not only to uphold and enforce the law, but too protect all persons against illegal acts,” he pointed out.
Boyce said this was extremely important because not only were police officers held to a higher standard by the public, but they are also under greater scrutiny from the media.
He insisted that while officers had hundreds of positive interactions with people on a daily basis, it was the few aberrations that were highlighted, and had the power to taint the image of both the organization and the individual involved.