Respect for law enforcement must be maintained at all cost. This firm assertion comes from Deputy Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce, in wake of reports that his officers were shot at in the wee hours of New Year’s Day.
“It is a major concern to us and we will put all the energies required for such an investigation into it. All of the investigative energies to bring the culprit or culprits to justice will be brought to bear,” warned Boyce.
It was reported that two of three occupants of a fleeing vehicle escaped after police responded to a burglary in progress at Rendezvous, Christ Church around 3:45 a.m.
Acting police public relations officer Sergeant Michael Blackman reported that lawmen were acting on a tip-off when they ventured to the location. On arrival they intercepted a blue motorcar, which sped off towards Forde’s Road.
Officer Blackman said shots were fired at the police from the fleeing vehicle before it was abandoned near Forde’s Road. The underbody of the police vehicle was damaged. The “getaway” car was also damaged. There were no reports of injuries.
However, this afternoon Boyce told Barbados TODAY that while it was not the first time officers were allegedly attacked in the line of duty, the shooting was clear indicator that respect for law enforcement must be given close attention.
“We will be naïve if we were to say that we do not expect that people would not challenge us from time to time. Because of the nature of policing, which deals with the correction of behaviour, people will challenge us. But we must monitor the level of disrespect for authority and disrespect for law and order. We need to take corrective, preventative action early in order to stop any developing trend,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner made it clear that there was no reason to push the panic button just yet; as such attacks on police were rare. However he contended that whenever such incidents rear their head, they must be nipped in the bud.
“This is not a regular activity or something that we encounter very often but when it is done we look at all of the issues so that we could respond or pre-empt any such activity,” he added.
The force’s second-in-command also told Barbados TODAY that the police were always working on new deterrent measures and he therefore expected that efforts would be ramped up in coming weeks.
“We are always revising and relooking our legislation. We are always looking at the way that we do things. This includes our public relations because we are always looking at the force’s image within the society. These adjustments are necessary to fine-tune our responses and to make our organization as current as it could be,” he pointed out.
Tuesday’s incident was a fiery start to 2019, on heels of growing concerns over gun violence last year. At the end of 2018, Barbados recorded close 30 murders with a large number involving the use of a firearm.