Police Constable, 191 Glendon David and Sergeant of Police, 593 Karla Timm copped the coveted titles of Policeman and Policewoman of the Year at the Annual Police Awards and Retirement Dinner. The event was held on Friday December 27, 2019 at the Russell’s Auditorium under the theme “Rewarding the Outstanding while Motivating the Aspiring.”
A large number of police officers, stakeholders and well-wishers attended the ceremony which was filled with pomp and splendor and some new innovations which included (1) the awarding of plaques instead of certificates (2) the voicing of citations by radio and other personalities and (3) the projection of the awardees photographs on screens.
Besides the awards for most outstanding police officer at the stations and in the divisions, the other notable awards were: Sportsman of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year which were won by PC 857 Desron Maloney and Cpl. 108 Oliver respectively and the Commissioner of Police Award for Bravery which was won by Leading Seaman (LS) 848 Peter Morris. In addition, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC Radio) and Gaymes Book Store were recognized for their longstanding service, support and partnership with the RSVGPF.
In addressing his officers and men of the RSVGPF, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John first thanked the members of the organizing committee of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Award and Prize Giving Dinner and other volunteers for an excellent job in planning and making the event a reality. He made specific mention of Cpl. 603 Selman Bailey PC 500 Uist Francis for making the plaques that were distributed to the awardees.
The Commissioner informed the listening audience that crime in SVG has been on the decrease over the years and gave statistics to prove his statement. He said that crimes has reduced in all of police divisions throughout the country. In Eastern Division reported crimes fell from 959 in 2017 to 826 in 2018 and to 744 in 2019; in South Central Division, reported crimes fell from 1520 in 2018 to 1442; in Central Division, reported crimes fell from 2403 in 2018 to 2113 in 2019; in South Western Division, 384 crimes were reported in 2018 compared to 357 in 2019. There were slight increases in the North Western and Grenadines division in 2019 over the same period in 2019. Overall, there were 5759 crimes reported in 2018 compared to 5356 in 2019.
He applauded the efforts of the members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, as he attributed the overall decrease in crimes for the period under review to their commitment, dedication, innovativeness, and sacrifice.
The Commissioner also accredited the decrease in crimes to the diversity in training that the organization has been receiving throughout the year from both local and international partners. He praised the contributions from external entities that affords the organization the ability to conduct training virtually, thereby reducing the associated financial constraints, while creating the avenue for more police officers to be trained.
He encouraged police officers who have receive training to pass on the information to other members who have not yet benefitted from such training, so as to facilitate a move effective, efficient and sustainable organization.
Commissioner John expressed gratitude to the different business houses, government and NGO’s for their continued support in the organization’s crime prevention initiatives. He outlined that these programmes are extremely important in deterring criminal activity and in boosting the organization’s capabilities in executing its mandate. The commissioner reiterated that the police force has very hardworking and dedicated police officers and thanked them for their guidance, support and for efforts in executing their duties.
Commissioner told the persons in attendance that while the efforts of the police organization have been noted in a positive way during the year, the actions by some officers have gave the organization some ‘bad’ press reporting. He gave the assurance that the organization has been dealing with those issues head-on and the matters are now before the law courts. He stressed that despite these negatives, the organization have a lot of positives and will be concentrating on the way forward.
The featured address was delivered by Mr. Cecil “Blazer” Williams, Chairman of both, the Public and Police Service Commissions. He told the gathering that policing is a collective effort, both within in the organization itself and externally with the general population. He stated that policing is not just about the prevention and detection of crimes; nor is it just keeping the peace and ensuring that citizens are secured in their homes and business places. Policing in the modern world according to Police Service Commission chairman has advanced beyond that.
Mr. Williams pointed out that the role of the police in today’s society has been extended to include the DARE programme, the Police Youth Clubs, combating trafficking in persons and the Pan against Crime initiative among others. He opined that these initiatives points to the fact that skills are being developed within the organization to fill the new roles of the police
The featured speaker said that the police force is evolving and now has over one thousand (1000) policeman men and women. He went on to say, the fact there are a significant number of women in the police force indicates that the organization has to develop internal mechanisms to deal with matters pertaining to female officers.
Mr. Williams clearly enunciated that society has also evolved and so too has the family structure –which unfortunately is making it more difficult to control and socialize young people today.
In making a call for collaboration between the police, the public and regional and international partners, Mr. Williams stated “the police cannot operate in isolation. We have to understand that we are not only being impacted by what is taking place within St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we are also being impacted day after day with what is taking place all around us”. He went on to say that modern technology has revolutionized the way people function in today’s society. According to him, it can be “a blessing or a curse” depending on how it is used. The keynote speaker however cautioned that as a society, we certainly have to master the technology in order to fight crime while keeping the citizenry safe.
Also making brief remarks at the ceremony was Station Sergeant Brenton Smith Chairman of the Police Welfare Association who reiterated the importance of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Annual Awards and Prize Giving Dinner in motivating and rewarding the efforts of the men and women tasked with upholding law and order. He thank the families of the awardees for their continued support and understanding while their ‘loved ones’ are keeping the citizens safe.
Station Sergeant Smith explained that while being cognizant of the efforts of police officers, it must be recognized that police officers are also in need of the basic amenities like proper shelter and appliances to better sustain themselves while they are at posted at Police Stations.
He stressed that over the years the Police Welfare Association has been assisting tremendously with the provision of basic amenities for police officers and have been fighting tireless to ensure better job compensation, job security and more supportive policies.
Station Sergeant Smith informed the audience that he was making his final address as chairman of the Police Welfare Association. He urged the members of the various branch boards to be supportive of the new chairman, whomever he or she may be, the Commissioner of Police and the organization as a whole. He also stated that he would like his successor to be persistent and selfless amidst all adversities in the attempt to better the lives of every police officer.
The event was broadcast live compliments NBC Radio and STV online.