Members of the RSVGPF have been urged to read the police act, this from Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves as he spoke directly to law enforcement officers by way of a press briefing held on Monday 13th November.
Gonsalves said that no police officer is a civil servant, but an arm of the state that has a specific set of purposes and duties.
He said the police force is part of the coercive apparatus of the state.
“ Coercive means part of the force of the state, a defining element of the state is that it possesses the legitimate monopoly on physical coercion”.
Gonsalves said in that state the police is the Central coercive arm of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“ The police force is not a force to deal with social development, there are social development agencies, though when the police are dealing with certain offences, they must approach the matter with great sensitivity”.
Gonsalves said the Police while they must build good relations with the public, they are not a group to hold consultative discussions.
“ They must have good outreach, but it must be understood that it is a force”.
The Prime Minister further stated that if an officer feels that he or she is a civil servant, simply ask for a transfer into the civil service.
“ But you cant be in the police force and just simply be a civil servant, you are a public servant, but not a civil servant,” Gonsalves said.
“As a police officer you come in confrontation with a gun, you have no obligation on your path to recite the beatitudes”.
Gonsalves said flight is not an officer’s first option.
“ You must repel the source of the threat to you and the community”.
This must be done according to Gonsalves reasonable and proportionately.
“ In other words, a man coming to you with a piece of stick and you have a gun, you won’t shoot him and kill him because that is an act which maybe assess not to be proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances”.
Gonsalves said in the meantime an officer cant be asked to make a fine judgement after the event, but make it when confronted as any reasonable person when confronted with those circumstances.
THE EIGHT BEATITUDES
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10