A retired high-ranking law enforcement officer has accused politicians of interfering in the operations of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), and he has urged senior lawmen to stand up to the political directorate.
Although he did not identify any particular politician, former Deputy Commissioner Bertie Hinds, in a recent interview with Barbados TODAY, charged that “politicians like to put roadblocks in your way”.
While stopping short of pointing fingers at anyone for “interfering” in the promotions process within the RBPF, Hinds, who had a fractious relationship with his former boss Darwin Dottin, now a Government consultant, pulled no punches regarding the quality of leadership put in place over the years.
“When you choose a top brass of a police force…the first thing is you have to try to choose the best…people who are equipped for the job. Don’t choose people you like or who may support you when it comes to an election or something like that. I know politics have influence on almost everything. But we need our people to sit down and be rational and look out there for the best; and over the years, we have made some bad choices in our leadership positions in the force,” declared Hinds who has a Master’s Degree in Criminology and a Bachelor’s in History and Law.
“I always said that when you really juxtapose politics with educational abilities…you know politicians don’t like people who can challenge them. They don’t like people who can challenge them and stand up to them. I have had friends in this region who I know very, very well as a policeman and as a security officer. I have had friends in this region in top positions who, when they stand up to the political directorate, suffer grievously.”
The former police administrator, who served the RBPF for over 44 years, insisted that the top brass of the Force should not be “yes people.”
“You should not be saying ‘yes’ to a politician and bowing down at his feet…. I would never do that. If you have a level of expertise in the sense that you are a rounded police officer…you are an educated police officer – when I say educated, I mean you are fit for the task as a leader – then you should have no problem with telling the political directorate where to get off,” the outspoken Hinds told Barbados TODAY.
Hinds, a former Deputy Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS), made a case for police administrators to put themselves in a position to be able to challenge politicians who seek to get in their way.
“When you reach that level of education, you are marketable. You are marketable and easily marketable too…and you could leave any police organisation and carve out a niche somewhere. My philosophy was always that I am not bowing to any politician, no political directorate whatsoever; that is why I tried to educate myself that I could be independent of any political directorate. I would just state my professional opinions and if you don’t like it, lump it; as simple as that. I can step off your boat,” declared Hinds.
“I know politicians like to put roadblocks in your way, and I have always planned for when a roadblock was put in my way, I would circumvent it. Simple as that.”
Hinds, a trained cybercrime officer, addressed the implications of political interference on a police organisation.
“It destroys your ability and capability to perform in your first function –prevention and detection of crime and building capacity around your society and economy so that it can thrive. When you have inept leadership, political intervention, it compromises the organisation’s ability to build and produce that quality of policing that encompasses society and economy…and that allows those two to breath and progress,” the retired veteran police officer stated.
While not committing himself to saying whether the RBPF was currently experiencing fallout from any political interference, Hinds said there is reason for concern that “some things are not right” within the Force.
“If I equate it to the type of criminal activity we are getting, there must be cause for concern about some things that are not right within the police organisation,” he pointed out.