Tue | Feb 18, 2020

Human rights training for armed officers at KingAlarm

Published:Thursday | July 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Braemar Estate in St Andrew, where a security guard was shot while attempting to disarm firearm holder on Braemar Avenue on Monday.

Executive Director of KingAlarm, John Azar, has revealed that within the next 30 days, all armed security personnel at the company will be given refresher training in human rights.

Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, Azar claimed that recent video footage circulating on social media showing armed guards from his company manhandling a licensed firearm holder in an attempt to disarm and place him under arrest was not unlawful. However, he has taken issue with the manner in which it was done and was concerned about the behaviour of some team members.

The manhandling occurred minutes after the licensed firearm holder shot and injured a plain-clothes security guard at a premises on Braemar Avenue in St Andrew on Monday during an attempt by the guard to pull the man's firearm from his waistband.

"I take pride in the level of training that our response officers are put through. Respect for human rights is an integral part of our training manual," Azar told The Gleaner. "As an abundance of caution, based on what transpired, I have reached out to Jamaicans for Justice to come in and do human rights training for all armed personnel within the next 30 days. It is prudent on our part to ensure that certain core values of human rights are reinforced.

"A lot is being said about the fact that our officers sought to detain and disarm the individual at the location. My issue is with how they sought to do so.

"By detaining or disarming [a person we are correct under law], just as any citizen of the land has a right to do if circumstances warrant it. [They] had no means of knowing if it was a licensed firearm or not. Our staff is expected to act professionally. What we have done is to withdraw the eight persons who were at the scene from duty, pending investigations," Azar said.


Not life threatening


The Private Security Regulation Authority, the agency responsible for monitoring and regulating the private security industry, issued a statement yesterday, labelling the incident as unfortunate, and said it was investigating the matter.

Yesterday, Dahlia Garrick, acting superintendent of police in charge of the Corporate Communications Unit, told The Gleaner that the injury sustained by the security guard was not life threatening and reported that he was recovering well.

Christopher Townsend, attorney representing the licensed firearm holder, said that the issue that led to the shooting was insignificant compared to the eventual assault meted out to his client.

"There was an attempt to disarm my client, and then he was assaulted. It would appear that there was an issue about maintenance and the locking of the gate. But all that was pale in comparison to what occurred. He could have responded with a far more deadlier position than how he did," said Townsend.