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LETTER OF THE DAY - Commanders must take charge

Published:Friday | March 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

IT IS my belief that there are rules governing the use of force by the police. The methodology used to ensure that these rules are applied must be used as a constant reminder to every policeman and policewoman prior to going on duty.

At that time, they should be reminded that they will be held accountable for their actions while on duty. Commanders should emphasise the importance of the use of force. Force can easily be misused if the individual empowered to apply force does not understand the importance of assessing threat levels and what degree of force is necessary to achieve his or her objective.

I am not convinced that the latest police killings have demonstrated the use of minimum necessary force. Actions which result in the death of a human suggest extreme force. Am I to understand that these lawmen and women act as judge, jury and executioner while on duty? The question remains as to who would have given the orders for opening fire at the time of these 'killings'. What were the instructions from the commanders prior to the lawmen and women going on duty?

DRESS CODE

Oftentimes, police are observed wearing protective gear which includes protective face mask on some operations. I can understand that the bulletproof vests and headgear are standard police issues. On the other hand, I also believe that police are issued individual numbers which should be displayed while in uniform, but quite often these lawmen do not display their numbers while on duty. These simple actions are cause for concern. In a perfect world, the sight of the police should be a comforting thought and a welcoming feeling of security. As a result of these killings the citizens have developed a sense of fear and lack of trust in the police.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Effective policing cannot be achieved without the help of citizens. In order to achieve this feat, commanders at all levels need to step up to the plate and hold themselves accountable for the behaviour of the men and women under their control. Create an intelligence-driven organisation and not one of force. Consider making it mandatory for a camera to be used on all police operations, and the unedited footage made available to any media or investigative body who may have the need to review it for clarity.

Finally, consider removing the word 'force' from the name given to their organisation and consider using the word 'department'.

Devon King

St Andrew

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