Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Too many cops lack courtesy

Published:Saturday | September 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

It is even strange for me to fathom my feelings towards Jamaican police, particularly the traffic officers. I've often heard utterances from ignorant Jamaicans saying, "Mi hate police." But it hasn't been until a number of events piled up that I strongly realised that I share the same sentiment, with equal disgust for their attitude towards civilians.

There was one instance in particular that a student had been CLEARLY bleeding from the head because she was in a fight with another. A group of students entered the station in alarm for assistance from the supposed-to-be helpful policemen. To their disappointment, they were chased out of the station. Notably, the phone kept ringing for long intervals and was seldom answered.

A hefty-bodied officer sat to the side indulging in a humongous container of red peas soup while the policewoman nonchalantly scribbled notes in a thick notebook, ostensibly quite perturbed. We waited and waited and got so fed up that my friend decided to take matters into his own hands. This is one of the many instances that made me realise that reporting anything pretty much makes no sense.

Recently, I was pulled over by an aggressive, strong-bodied policewoman and her frail-looking crime-fighting partner. Apparently I had broken a red light; I thought amber was still permissible.

Nonetheless, I accepted whatever I was being accused of. Why? This scary officer obviously took pride in asserting her power. She shouted and carried on as if I had shot her child dead. I responded to her calmly and yes, rudely, in proper English, of course: "I can hear you. You do not need to shout, Miss. Is everything okay? Why are you so angry?"

The more I probed her, the more annoyed she became. She decided to radio in to do a search on my name as she was determined for me to go to jail. I wondered why she went to those lengths, having me stand there in the boiling sun for 20 minutes as they checked my records at the base. She was so upset when the response from base was negative.

In another instance, I was pulled over for not indicating when turning a corner 10 seconds away from a gas station I exited. I tried being extremely polite and courteous, "Good evening, Officer, my apologies. I just left the gas station which is right there, so I didn't realise it was necessary to indicate. But I appreciate being notified."

"You are getting a ticket!" he asserted.

Frightened me: "Ummm, Is that necessary, Officer? A warning couldn't do?" He hissed as if I had done him wrong. I felt like a criminal! But why was he so angry though?

I understand that these police officers are humans, but, like me, who learnt how to set aside my personal issues and deal with customers and clients in a friendly manner, police officers need to adapt a sense of responsibility and represent their job respectfully. Perhaps they should be retrained how to adapt a level of sensibility. Regular law-abiding civilians are not their enemies!

To all those persons who have experienced police brutality or even have been disrespected by the police, I would advise you to publicise your story. That's the only way they will come under more scrutiny and be forced to shape up or ship out!