Clarifying police-public relations issues
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I think it would be helpful to try to clarify some aspects of the issues bedeviling police-public relations as a result of the recent robust actions of the lawmen.
I remember a time when children would run to their front gate at the sight of a passing police car and shout gleefully, "Police, Mama, Police!" After school, groups of high-school boys sometimes headed to the police station to play games, lift weights at the gym, or play table tennis or dominoes. Parents knew and/or were friends with many of the cops.
Society has grown more complex since those bygone days.
1. There seem to be the usual double standards here when the big picture is looked at. Many of the same people defending INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams' recent indiscretion were calling for the contractor general (CG) to resign forthwith when he was zealous in digging into white-collar crime accusations.
2. However you slice it, it is incompetence, or worse, for an 'independent' body's chairperson to appear on the same platform with an advocacy group which has already accused the police of wrongdoing, BEFORE investigations even properly START. This move cannot inspire public confidence in INDECOM. Why bother to investigate, and waste funds, as seems to be our penchant. Just condemn the police and be done. Or perhaps issue warrants for arrests?
3. The CG has been requesting more powers for years. ZIP! Yet INDECOM can arrest police and bring them to court.
4. Re JFJ: Many people do not understand its role as mandated by Amnesty International. Its role is NOT to be watchdog for justice for citizens generally. Its role is to be a mouthpiece for accused and/or convicted lawbreakers, against the state, regardless of the crimes they commit. Law-abiding citizens are assumed to have better access to fair play and will have to take their own steps to obtain justice with the given mechanisms available.
5. This misunderstanding is causing widespread cynicism in the body politic. JFJ should face the public in a press conference and clearly define its role, as its present insufficiently and unequivocally clarified objectives are making bad matters worse.