THE Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is calling on Saint Lucians not to be afraid to file reports of wrongdoing against its members as these reports will be investigated.
The encouragement to the general public comes amid the force’s revelation that four police officers have so far been dismissed for the year.
“We do have a disciplinary system that works. We have a superintendent who is designated to hear disciplinary matters against police officers and we are encouraging members of the public who feel they are wronged or who feel they have been wronged by a police officer [to come forward]. They can come in and make a report and I can guarantee you, rest assured that the matter will be investigated,” said Acting Assistant Police Commissioner for Territorial Policing, George Nicholas.
Nicholas on Thursday at a press briefing said that of the four dismissed officers, one has appealed and that matter is pending before a court of law.
“For this year we have dealt with a number of indiscipline matters against police officers. For instance, we have nine police officers who have been convicted through our disciplinary system and were fined a total amounting to 64 days’ pay,” Nicholas said. “We have had three police officers on suspension charged for committing offenses – one charged for perjury, one for possession of drugs and another for assault. Only on Monday this week a police officer was arrested and charged for wounding. He is on bail,” Nicholas said.
“We have a way of dealing with our police officers when they infringe the very same law that we seek to enforce,” he added.
Nicholas said the number of matters pending against police officers are a cause of concern to the police force.
“We preach on a daily basis to the officers that while we are enforcing the law, we need to confine our actions within the framework of the law. We cannot break the same laws we seek to enforce and they are quite aware that measures will be taken against them,” Nicholas said.
He said that training is provided to officers in need of it, and that officers generally should be cognizant of curtailing their behaviour when dealing with members of the public.
Meanwhile a probe has been launched into a report that two police officers and a security guard assaulted a man last week.
Nicholas said that he was aware of the report which was first made to the Police Complaints Unit. The Criminal Investigations Department is now investigating the matter. The individual who was said to be assaulted had to undergo surgery at hospital and was still a patient at the hospital at the time this report was written. The matter was reported on Wednesday.