On Thursday January 18, 2018, newly appointed Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John successfully held what was regarded as the largest General Meeting of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force ever convened at the Old Montrose Police Training School Lecture Hall.
The Hall was filled to capacity with an almost equal overflow of law enforcement officers on the outside comprising of the various sections, departments, units and out-district stations throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
One of the notable observations at the meeting was the welcomed huge attendance from the Auxiliary Police Officers, Tourist Police, Port Police Officers, Traffic Wardens and Rural Constables. The Commissioner did not lose sight of this as he especially welcomed them to the meeting.
In delivering his maiden address to the general body, Commissioner John presented what can be considered as his “Blue Print” for the forward thrust and continuous development of the august Police organization – in the immediate, medium and long term.
He spoke broadly to his audience on his hierarchy’s strategic objectives for the Police Force from a carefully prepared agenda which included the following; (a) Strategic Crime Plan, (b) a Work Plan to implement the Strategic Plan, (c) Performance Appraisal System, (d) Improved Information Technology, (e) extension of Polygraph Examinations throughout the organization, (f) Improved Crime Data Collection and Crime Prevention Methods, (g) enhanced Community Policing Strategy and increase Police presence in the communities, (h) moderation of the Curriculum, Recruitment, and Selection Strategy at the Police Training School, (i) better harmonization and supervision of the Police Youth Clubs and (j) proper use, supervision and care of the organization’s assets, especially motor vehicles and Police Stations.
At the onset, Commissioner John intimated to the ‘rank and file’ “that more than ninety five (95) percent of the members of the Police organization are honest, hardworking, dedicated and motivated Police officers”.
He however lamented that “there are a few who are engaging in activities contrary to their calling as Police Officers”. This the Commissioner said that cannot be allowed to happen because the “few mangy sheep can infect the whole flock” according to local parlance.
The Commissioner assured the gathering that the organization is embarking on scientific means to gather evidence on the “wayward” officers so that the Force can be purged of these elements and to deter other persons who may be inclined to follow suit.
In cementing this point, the Commissioner referenced two (2) Police Officers who recently resigned from the organization for conduct unbecoming that of a Police Officer.
In elaborating on the Crime Strategic Plan, Commissioner John informed the meeting that the Police High Command previously held a retreat and out that retreat, a Crime Strategic Plan was developed for the organization.
He stated the Plan is still in its draft stage but will be circulated throughout the organization for input and feedback because it is the intention of the police hierarchy for the Plan to be implemented by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
On the very important issue of performance appraisal in the Police Force, Commissioner John said that a committee will be set up to evaluate officer’s performance with the intention of scientifically assessing persons for promotion.
The Commissioner also congratulated the executive and members of the Police Welfare Association who were recently elected to serve the association and it membership.
He made it clear that is his intention to forge a very constructive and productive relationship with the Police Welfare Association. He urged the members of the association to continue to support the work of the Police organization. He also congratulated the staff of the Calliaqua Police Station on their recent success of stemming a series of burglaries that were occurring in the district.
In highlighting the issues of attendance and punctuality in the workplace, the Commissioner stressed the need for every police officer of all ranks not only to report for duty but to be on time as well.
He highlighted some instances where some officers are reporting sick and rather than producing sick leave from a medical doctor, they are staying at home. He asserted that this practice must stop immediately.
The Commissioner reported that the Be-Fit Movement Fitness programme for Police Officers will continue and urged more persons to enroll. The Commissioner reiterated that it is more personally rewarding for individuals and for the organization in general when Police Officers are healthy.
He also informed the members that Police Week will be reintroduced into the Police Force’s Calendar of Events and that there will be a competition within the organization to formulate a motto for the Police Force.
He reminded the officers that the force now has its own website to interface with the public. He urged them to visit the website at rsvgpf.gov.vc and give feed back.
Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Frankie Joseph, Assistant Commissioners of Police, Messrs Carlos Sampson and Christopher Benjamin and Commander of SVG Coast Guard, Assistant Commissioner Brenton Caine also addressed the meeting.
Deputy Commissioner Joseph commended the officers for their hard work in 2017. He encouraged them to continue to work harder and smarter in 2018.
Speaking on the vital issue of crime prevention, the Deputy impressed upon the audience that community policing and intelligence gathering are the new paradigms in 21st century policing. He stressed the view that Police Officers have to engage the public more if they want to prevent and solve crimes at a much faster rate.
According to Mr. Joseph, Police Officers cannot solve crime in the Police Stations, you have to go out in the streets and into the district to investigate and get the correct information/intelligence to solve the cases.
The Deputy Commissioner also announced a series of reforms set to take place in the organization with regards to the curriculum at the Police Training School and the Force’s Recruitment and Selection Policy. These reforms according to him are geared towards improving the overall standard of service and policing to the general public.
According to Mr. Joseph, the current policy is that when some is recruited into the Police Force, that individual takes the oath of office and is sworn in as a Police Officer before entering the Police Training School.
The recruited Police Officer according to the Deputy then enters the Training School where he/she undergoes a series of tests and examinations among other evaluation to judge his continued suitability to remain in the organization.
The Deputy Commissioner was very passionate while addressing the issue of Police Youth Clubs. He informed the men and women that there are about twenty seven (27) Police Youth Clubs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and opined that the formation of these youth clubs has impacted positively on the crime situation in the country because every person who joins the clubs results in one person less inclined to commit crimes.
He urged every Police Officer, including the Divisional Commanders and NCOs at the stations to give their full support to the members of the Police Youth Clubs and the Club coordinators.
He said that he and the other Commissioners will be taking a personal interest in ensuring that the Police Youth Clubs gets all of the support that it needs to function effectively. He also called for greater participation in the Pan against Crime (PAC) Initiative from Police Officers.
Assistant Commissioner Sampson expounded on the need for proper use and care of the organization’s resources namely, motor vehicles and stations; Assistant Commissioner Benjamin reminded the officers about the importance of knowing the mission, vision and core values of the organization; while Commander Caine spoke on the issue of operational synergy between the Police Force and the Coast Guard.
During the meeting, the rank and file also had the opportunity to make recommendations, highlight issues affecting their work and ask the Commissioners questions directly.
Several issues were raised by the rank and file relating to promotions, training, force policies and procedures among other things.
Police Press Release