Police Leaking Huge Problems

Police LeakingThe news that Commissioner of Police Thomas Bennett is hoping to plug leaks to the media is very alarming. Not that this is isolated to Antigua & Barbuda, but there are many more problems facing the force.

Surely, we should all be concerned that people accused of crimes are treated as innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, journalists should not be allowed to jeopardize criminal cases by disseminating information prematurely.

I do agree that leaks to the media can be detrimental and should be plugged immediately. While he is plugging the leaks however, Bennett should recognize the need for better police/media relations.

Over the past year or so, that relationship has improved tremendously, but is still lacking. A lot of work needs to be done in that regard. So Bennett confirms that there are media leaks, but I wonder if that’s where it stops. Are criminals also being fed information, and are the leaks widespread?

Are lawyers, court clerks and the like passing information?

Bennett has opened the proverbial can of worms, and it will take a lot of work to reseal the can. And while he is attempting to plug these leaks, hopefully he can look into the misbehaviour of his officers as well.

I have said before and will repeat that being a police officer is not easy. Officers sometimes pay the ultimate price (death) in their fight to serve and protect citizens.

We should all recognize the invaluable service of members of Antigua & Barbuda's police force.

The problem is however, and it’s not isolated to Antigua, that police officers become corrupted. This, I believe, is the exception and not the rule, so we all should help to stamp out these few bad apples.

In Antigua & Barbuda, "good" police officers seem to have a problem with sorting out these bad examples. Yes, it’s the police who have to investigate and charge officers who commit crimes or those who behave inappropriately. I hope that Bennett remembers the public outcry from members of his force following the conviction of one of his officers last year.

Kevil Nelson was convicted of the murder of Denfield “Tody” Thomas following a domestic dispute at Thomas’ home in October 2006. Following the conviction, members of the force berated the jury and shouted angrily to "no one in particular". It was a disgusting display of unprofessionalism, unbecoming of police officers.

The police top bass promised to look into the officers' actions, but to date there is no public report on the investigation. The police need training. From time to time, people have had altercations with police officers simply because some officers are rude and disrespectful.

I know there are some who challenge the police a lot of times, and I am not proposing that’s okay. Police officers, however, should be mindful that they are peacemakers first and foremost.

Sometimes, just a little patience by the police would have meant the difference between an altercation and the solution to a problem. Again, I stress that it’s not easy being an officer, but people who join the force must have recognized those challenges from the get go.

I have heard police officers say some off beat things that make me wonder if they understand their role in society. Sometimes it seems like the police are more for "war" than peace. Recent events suggest that the force is highly political as well. That is a huge problem in a country where "politics is everything".

To plug the leaks to the media may be as huge as plugging that oil leak in the gulf. Making the police force a well-rounded, professional organisation may be impossible.

It will take the will, patiencem and involvement of all the citizens to make this happen. Spiritual intervention may also be necessary.

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1 Comments In This Article   


#1 smoke » 2010-06-09 10:40

all dem corrupted police man and political police man time will tell 4 dem.


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Ian 'Magic' Hughes

Ian 'Magic' Hughes is an Antiguan Journalist.

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