Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith, has spoken out in defence of police officers not producing files for court cases.
Stating that while there was no excuse for files not being produced, the Commissioner made it clear that there was, however, an explanation.
“If you recognise that our workload is increasing substantially, our demands have been greater, and yet we have significant shortages, then it means the same people are called upon to do the work over and over.
“And so, there will be times when there will be shortcomings by members of the Force by not producing files,” Griffith contended.
He made these statements as he addressed the Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Police Association in the Prince Cave Hall at the District “A” Police Station on Friday.
Griffith said despite the conditions under which lawmen worked and the shortages, he, however, got the impression that there was a movement to make the Royal Barbados Police Force “the scapegoat for the slow operation of the judicial system”.
“There is a lot of blame to be apportioned everywhere. I am sure that there are many very serious matters before the court where there are files many years old that are not being addressed, and yet when there is an assault case that is dismissed that is highlighted. I think that we need to be fair if we are to address the whole issue of delays in the court system,” the Commissioner maintained.
He added that it appeared as if the Force was often looked upon as the “salvation for everything”, and expected to address the issues facing the country.
But, Griffith stressed, the issues in the country were much bigger than the Royal Barbados Police Force. “I am sure that we are doing our best, but we need to have other people take responsibility for some of the blame that is there to be apportioned,” he stated.
However, he noted that while the region is plagued with an increase in violent crimes spurred by the drug culture and the illicit firearms trade, Barbados had been able to hold its own and manage its crime well.
“There is no Caribbean country at this particular juncture that has a lower murder rate than Barbados per 100 000… We have had our spikes, but we have been able to manage our murders effectively with the support of the rank and file, and so I would want to give them kudos for the contribution that they have made. I also want to implore you to continue on that path,” Griffith urged.
Crediting the island’s success in the crime fight to the work of police officers, the Commissioner reminded the public that crime is not “a police thing; crime is the business of all Barbadians”.