Police Behaving Badly in SVG

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Police act badly. The public loses confidence in the police. Police behave worse. The public’s trust in police drops to an all-time low. It’s a dangerous, vicious cycle.

Police need to understand if whilst they are anywhere in public or not in public, within their own home even they should act with a degree of decorum, restraint, and decency. It is not good enough for an officer to say they act with correctness whilst on duty, because they are always on duty in the eye of the public, and it is a matter of common decency to be that upstanding person at all times even when standing in the shadows.

Police Behaving Badly in SVG
Police Behaving Badly in SVG

I was appalled to read the front page of ‘The News’ newspaper this week, Friday, September 23, 2016. A group of people who were attending the High Court on Tuesday morning prior to attending a ceremony to mark the opening of the new law term when a very nasty incident took place.

The group involved were Grant Connell a leading and successful young Vincentian criminal lawyer, Commissioner of Police Renald Hadaway, Divisional Commander Elton Jackson, and another very senior officer. They were joined by Head of The Criminal Investigation Department [CID] Ruth Hazel-Ann Jacobs. Mr. Connell said in a pleasant and subdued respectful voice  “Good morning SOP Jacobs” to which she looked at him and said with a severe degree of anger and disrespect  “Satan, I rebuke you”. She said this with anger, spite and obvious malice and the group of senior officers said nothing.  So Mr. Connell asked the Commissioner of Police if he was just going to stand there and not rebuke Superintendant Jacobs for her rude outburst. Chief Hadaway found it impossible to do that and in choosing to stay mum took the side of the rude out of place CID Chief. Connell walked away in disgust.

According to a new US study in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, this “crisis in police legitimacy, ” the police bad behavior is not only detrimental to the general public, but also to the future of policing as a whole.

In social science circles, the level of trust placed in police officers by the public is known as “legitimacy.” When police act respectfully, in the public’s eye, their legitimacy goes up. When they act on brash, rude and nasty, often racialized or even class decision-making, their legitimacy goes down.

Despite lawyer Connell being a white man I am not suggesting for a moment that this was a racialized matter. Neither am I suggesting she feels outclassed and lower classed than Connell. I just do not know M. Jacobs or what her views are regarding white authoritativeness or class or if that affects her thinking and behavior.

One thing for sure her installation in her current position must have a degree of ULP political input; she must be another political appointment. We have seen so many of these political animals acting badly even the previous police chief who turned out to be a total idiot when he went to a ULP rally wearing a red suit and hat with white stars on them. Political appointments in the police force, unfortunately, bring this kind of behavior because they try and emulate the political leaders and believe they can do and say anything.

I must question the suitability of any police officer from a mere constable to a Chief of a police department or even the Chief of police who act in such a way in public, in private or during their official duty detail. Because such a person shows that they hold grudges and can like the ULP regime leaders administer spite and malice making them unsuitable for any position whatsoever in the police force. If they can hold grudges against lawyers those grudges can overspill to a lawyer’s clients simply for just being a client of that lawyer.

It is well recognized that the public’s loss of trust in police authority has a direct correlation to higher crime rates. My worry is if such a person has such venom and spite in her are prisoners or detainees in any danger from this person?

I am not even sure if her behavior constitutes a criminal offense if the boot was on the other foot I am sure it would be and Connell would have been arrested on the spot. Insulting behavior likely to cause a breach of the peace they would call it.

Jacobs claims abuse and rudeness from Connell in court, but there is a route to deal with that if it is true and it certainly is not acting like a mad woman outside the High Court. If she does not know right from wrong and cannot behave properly at all times send her home and pension her off.

Peter Binose

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