Police sergeants were today told to be agents of change in a 183-year-old constabulary “in serious need” of reform.
The officers received the charge during a closing ceremony for the Sergeants General Duties Training Course at the Regional Police Training Centre.
Two dozen police sergeants from Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Belize, who completed the course, were warned that their attitude to members of the public desperately needed to change.
During his address, commandant of the training centre, John Maxwell, criticised frontline police supervisors for sometimes taking a hands-off approach to important matters.
Commandant Maxwell said: “When a member of the public telephones or goes to the police station, it is because he needs our assistance. By the very oath of office that we took, we swore that we would provide the best quality service that can be given. You must ensure that your charges treat these people with respect and respond promptly to their reports.
“As sergeants, you must be familiar with your respective force’s rules, policies, standards and procedures and of course the laws of your countries,” said the commandant.
“It serves no good to procrastinate or worse yet become discourteous by bluntly refusing to ensure that reports are addressed promptly. Failure to take the appropriate action can at worst result in bodily harm or death.”
During the two-week training programme, participants were required to display critical thinking skills, better understand their roles as sergeants and improve efficiency in the execution of their duties.
The syllabus covered a diverse array of topics including the issuing and receiving of firearms, communication and public speaking, briefing and debriefing and drafting charges.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Lila Strickland warned that with the local force struggling to increase its recruitment numbers, the sergeants needed to better nurture younger officers who join the force.
The deputy police chief said: “Serious reform must come and come soon to the organisation. We must in short order conduct a serious audit of our resources and our quality of service. We cannot continue doing business as usual. Drastic changes must be implemented if we are to remain on the cutting edge of service delivery.”
She also urged the officers to ensure they act within the confines of the law, maintain high ethical standards and lead by example at all times.
“All [senior police officers] should make every effort to handle all disputes of a domestic nature,” she said. “You have many years of training and experience and could better guide on these matters.”