Bystander Accidentally Shot By Barbados Police – Left To Die By The Roadside


Jamelle King Shot In Head – Second Innocent Bystander Jamal Bowen Shot In Foot

There would have been hell to pay in New York City or London had two innocent citizens been accidentally shot by police who were chasing bandits – not to mention that after shooting the bystanders the police just drove off.

Yup… that is what happened. The Barbados police officers knew that innocent bystanders had been shot and they just drove off.

But let’s get one thing straight here: officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force are seldom held to account for anything. As a group, they know this and behave accordingly. It is part of the police leadership’s corporate culture that the Rule of Law, individual rights and freedoms and duty to the public are not exactly high on the priorities list.

We have long ago said that the best thing that could happen to our police is for Commissioner Dottin to retire. The RBPF needs LEADERSHIP that is principled, strong and independent enough to resist political pressure.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for any kind of responsible action about this shooting to originate from the RBPF Commanding officers. The public is still waiting for the explanation for the last time the police shot an innocent civilian in the head.

Is it any wonder that the majority of citizens consider the Royal Barbados Police Force to be an occupying army rather than fellow citizens who have taken on as their full time profession the duty that each one of us has to look out for the welfare and safety of others?

Further Reading…

The Nation News: In The Line Of Fire

Barbados Free Press: Man Apparently Shot In Back Of Head By Police As He Was Running Away. Police Say “It Was A Confrontation”


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

40 responses to “Bystander Accidentally Shot By Barbados Police – Left To Die By The Roadside

  1. Anonymous

    Not an occupying army. Just another gang.

  2. shooting

    do you really think the police who have no problem with killing one of their own who refused to join in a corrupt deal would give a damn about shooting civilians?

  3. Sargeant

    If the circumstances are as reported then this represents the first test for Thompson and his gov’t. with respect to law and order. They have to set the tone that it is not business as usual and the members of RBPF will be held to account for any transgressions of the law in the same way the average citizen would be called to account. The Atty General should have the COP on the carpet to provide a full report of the incident and if charges are merited so be it. If the injuries are accidental there is no excuse for not offering assistance to the victims.

    Let’s see how developed we are


    BFP Says

    Any military or quasi-military organisation responds well to top-down leadership. What we are seeing is very much a failure of leadership at the top of the RBPF.

    You are correct that this is one of the first tests of the DLP and Thompson – whether they realise it or not.

  4. Tony Hall

    I would suggest that we wait for more details before we jump to conclusions. The Nation newspaper has a propensity for sensationalism.


    BFP Says,

    And why should we have to “wait” for details? Where the HELL is the interview with the Commissioner or police spokesperson? Who was being shot at ? Why? Are they still wanted? What happened? Where are the interviews with the neighbours?

    Once again… if we had some JOURNALISTS ’bout hey we might have some answers and some accountability from the police.

  5. sm

    You’ve done your job on Owen Arthur.Who’s next?
    The Commissioner of Police? You are so obvious. Who do you have in waiting? Bertie Hinds? Is he politically ‘free’?

  6. reality check


    “Who do you have in waiting? Bertie Hinds? Is he politically ‘free’?”

    You obviously still don’t get it?

    Its not a political vendetta.

    Its a search for accountability and transparency from ALL citizens especially those at the top.

    Thats where leadership and integrity start!!!

    Ther are none so blind as those that cannot see or in this case refuse to see.

  7. Rumplestilskin

    I approach this from a different angle.

    Yes, according to reports the respective officers appear to have been negligent is discharging firearms while exposing civivlians.

    That said. I now will address what I see to be the real problem.

    Firstly, while not absolving the Police action per se, the area is well known as a ‘crime area’.

    There will always be interaction between Police and suspects, especially in a high crime area.

    I suggest that this incident is not so much an indictment on the Police as on the society as a whole.

    Disrespect has run rampant, such as with minibuses on the road, schoolchildren abusing teachers etc.

    When disrespect rums rampant, the criminal element will thrive. The Police, already underpaid and disrespected, will unfortunately, either themselves become corrupt or ‘dont-carish’.

    The few good ones will be drowned in a sea of confusion.

    We as a society do not respect or pay the Police, teachers nor local nurses.

    What do you expect but that those who remain will be either frustrated, drowned or corrupt themselves?

    Admit it. In some instances Barbadians ‘celebrate’ criminality e.g. the Winston Hall case, whereby one involved in murder became a ‘hero’ to some.

    This incident above highlights Police desperation and frustration, in the Police reorting to desperate tactics to get a suspect.

    What we do need is to support the Police, teachers and nurses.

    THAT is the root cause.

    But no, we are too busy becoming ‘first-world’.

    What a joke.

    If I seem to hard on this ‘first-world’ thing, it is because such mind-set encompasses much more than just ‘material wealth’. Such a mindset has numerous implications, some good but many bad.

    Our mindset should be one of reaching for a better life without the trappings of modern day greed and oneupmanship, a caring for all.

    So, that is where the blame lies in this incident, with us all, do not just blame the Police.

    While, yes, they are the example and ONE of the guardians of our Nation, we ourselves have given them only one arm.

    Remember, the Piper is always paid.



    BFP Says,

    Well, I guess that absolves the officers then. They can just fire their weapons indiscriminately in any “high-crime” area, and when the accidentally shoot someone drive off leaving them to die.

    Sorry Rump, we don’t buy into that at all.

    Nor do we buy into the “professional” media once again failing to follow up on the story and forgetting their duty for the greater societal good.

  8. EyeSpy

    I was of the opinion a long time ago and wished it could have happen right after the election that Dottin should be released or forced to retire. He got that position because he was the most suitable person for the job of protecting and defending his cronies and big-ups. He could care less about the private citizens of the country, he is only and most interested in stuffing his pockets with doe.

    The RBPF hire criminals too and make no mistake about that.

  9. Thistle

    A police friend once told me that Owen Arthur and Darwin Dottin are first cousins. Mind you, it doesn’t necessarily follow that because a policeman told me that, it is true, but I had no reason to doubt my friend’s word.

  10. Getting BYE

    How about around end of Sept early/early October 2006 when that mentally challenged man was shot by police somewhere on the south coast. Until now we are yet to receive a discloure on whether an investigation took place and what the outcome was. Media just dropped follow up on that one…or was forced to drop that (you know how these things get done around Barabdos).

    Either way we need some accountability for these types of cases as well as police brutality of suspects. Barbados can’t remain so backwards in not addressing these issues forever.

    But as usual things get too hot in the papers for the police and a cousin/friend get called to hype another case/incident/subject to take the heat from the force and the lack of accountability.

  11. Tony Hall

    I know that the Police Force is not a perfect institution but you seem intent on bashing the officers without really knowing the facts. You have only heard one side and you are quick to rush to judgement. Do you have any relatives or friends in the RBPF? Do you know what it is to be shot at and having to make split second decisions? Please stop basking the Police. The moral is already low from ” low” salaries and “extremely poor” working conditions. The officers who are down in the trenches are doing their best to control crime in our island.


    BFP says,

    We are never likely to know the facts. The police are a law unto themselves and do not feel that they have to be accountable to ordinary citizens.

    Do a little search of our past articles and you will see that we give kudos to the police when deserved, and we believe that the Royal Barbados Police Force should be the highest paid policing organisation in the Caribbean.

    And yes… we do have a friend – which is how we derive much of our insight and inside information about the RBPF.

    Now let’s get back to the fact that two innocent civilians were shot by police officers and the police Command officers have said nothing about it.

    Nor have they said anything about the last innocent civilian that was shot in the head by a police officer.

    Just when do you think it would be appropriate for the police management to speak about their officers shooting innocent civilians?

  12. Getting BYE

    Great point Mr. Hall. The police have a difficult job, bad working conditions, and low pay. This is even more terrible because they have such an inportant job.

    Problem is everyone want something for free.
    I wonder how much more BFP readers would be willing to pay in taxes to increase the salary of officers maybe 5% to sart with.

    * note: I would be shocked if someone in the BFP family was not friend/family with a member of the RBPF….most of Barbados is…which in itself is a big part of our problem.


    BFP says,

    The 200 million we blew on refurbishing the white elephant of Kensington Oval would have improved the police force quite nicely, thank you. Or the 100 million dollars in cost overruns at the new jail (or was it 200 million? one never knows!)

    It is all about priorities and for the last 14 years we had a government that loved lavish spending on expensive showpiece projects while old ladies haul water and use suck well toilets like our slave ancestors did hundreds of years ago.

    As Prime Minister Arthur reminded the police time and time again… they aren’t anything special.

    And when we couldn’t hire enough officers, instead of paying more, the government dropped the educational and performance standards for hiring new officers.

    And Commissioner of Police Dottin said “YES MASSA” to Owen Arthur and AG Mia Mottley.

    Now… do you think it is appropriate for the police to shoot three innocent civilians in two incidents and say nothing? Be asked no questions?

  13. reality check

    Tony Hall

    “but you seem intent on bashing the officers without really knowing the facts”

    This appears to one of the main points of BFP’s
    article. There are no facts because the media is not doing its job in reporting ANY facts. Silence permits these matters to continue and is a form of institutional complicity.

    The shooting of an Barbadian citizen is serious business in any society. You can bet your bottom dollar if this matter happened anywhere in North America or Europe to a Barbadian, this would be front page news for awhile.

    The reporters would interview the police chief, the victims, the AG, the PM , the neighbours etc and construct a story around the incident. If it is a drug area, this too would be mentioned. The reporters would also ask the victims if they had a record and if so what the charges were etc etc.

    The public has a right to know what facts are out there and can draw their own conclusions or ask more questions. This is how a civilized country solves its problems, not by sweeping them under the carpet.

  14. Fishpot

    Does Barbados have an Internal Affairs division in their police force? If so this is a case for them.


    BFP says,

    There is no independent civilian oversight of the Royal Barbados Police Force. The Commissioner of Police is a big part of the problem and he will not communicate the results of any internal investigation to the public – or even if there is an investigation.

    Commissioner Dottin believes that he knows exactly what is good for us all, and he doesn’t tolerate any interference by lowly citizens or even by their elected members of Parliament.

    As to the media… his officers regularly assault reporters, delete photos and smash equipment. They arrest and drag them away from any story they don’t want printed or photographed – and then secretly drop the charges in backroom deals.

    That is the truth about Policing in Barbados.

    Deal with it.

  15. frankology

    “I was sitting on a chair [near the main road] waiting to go to a job when I saw someone run past behind me and a police jeep pull up in front. When
    I turned to look [at the running man], I hear pap! pap! pap! felt something hit the side of my face and fell over.
    Here we have a scenario where someone is sitting along the road, a man running and the police in pursue, bullets released and a man is shot. Did we hear if the man running was armed? – NO, did we hear if he fired any shots? – NO. What we are hearing is an interview by a single individual. Were other bystanders presence and were they interviewed? – We hear from NO ONE. Sensationalism and empathy goes hand in hand, we use our emotions without hearing the other side. What we see here is anger being vented without facts. We speak about the fourth estate not being sensitive to the public, but in this case trying to be too sensitive the paper erred in not getting an eyewitness account of what transpired on that date. Only one of the victims we are hearing.
    Now we see the BFP jumping into the bandwagon with a sensationalised approach without getting additional information, but mainly to hoodwink the public that our Police Force, especially the Commissioner is incompetent. That is where I disagree. Policemen are the same human being as us, and will behave or react according to the situation. The unfortunate guy who was caught in the cross-fire stated and I quote “‘What happened you shoot me so?’ ” he said.
    But Jamelle said the police said something to him which he did not understand and drove off”.

    Who know what the police told him? But here we are with guns a blazed not knowing the true story.

    It just goes to show certain people cry down the police and say how they hate the police, but let someone in that family get attack or rape and these same people will be calling the police left, right and centre for the apprehension of the culprit. That’s Bajan for you!


    BFP Says,

    Well… that settles it then! No need to give the public any answers at all… and certainly blame those who ask any questions as being anti-police.

    Thank you frankology. Its nice to see that some things never change.

  16. frankology

    Well… that settles it then! No need to give the public any answers at all… and certainly blame those who ask any questions as being anti-police.
    I read the story in the Nation’s newspaper, I was angry when I first read it, but I held my emotions intact and start reading between the lines and I reach the conclusion that here we only one single view. With that I relaxed and state it will be better for me to hear other views.

    We all need to see justice, but it will be better for us to allow policing be the intrigal part of our justice system. When we cry down our justice system, the moral fabric will be lost. Let’s try to avoid that dilemma.


    BFP Comments…

    Sorry frankology, but our rose-coloured glasses broke the last time the police shot an innocent in the head and then the story disappeared.

    I guess you don’t mind who gets shot in the head as long as they are not your friend or relative.

  17. no name

    That is the problem, Frankology, we do not hear the end of the story.
    This is exactly the point that is being made here. You are reinforcing it.

  18. eureka

    This article at its beginning speaks about the police in New York or London would have ‘hell to pay’ had it occurred there. Stop right there: It seems you folk here don’t follow international news?

    The police in New York, London and all other metropolitan cities are far more brutal than Barbados’ police. For those of you who are temporarily suffering from amnesia, permit me to refresh your sagging memories.

    Just two years ago in London, the police shot and killed a Brazilian electrician named DeMenezes in a train station. From all reports, it was cold-blooded murder. Up to now, no officer has been held accountable for this crime. The victim in question, from all the reports I read on the internet was not acting in any way suspiciously.

    The police was apparently given a wrong tip off that this man was a terrorist and he was followed into the train station, jumped on and shot in the head: yes, in the head; they pumped either 7 or 8 bullets in his head. Clearly, this was no accidental shooting; it was very intentional.

    There were calls from the people for the Commissioner to resign but all to no avail.

    Just last year a Polish man was killed in Canada at the airport and all because the man could not speak english was a bit agitated about something; and given the resources at Canadian airports, no one even attempted to call in an interpreter to see what was the problem; no, they shot him with a taser and according to reports, he was handcuffed and physically restrained to such an extent that he died soon after.

    As far as I am aware, no one from the RCMP has been held accountable for this man’s death. Once again, the terrorist excuse has been waved. In other words, if you look like a terrorist, walk like a terrorist, act like a terrorist, you are shot.

    Quite frankly, I have travelled to the US once since 9/11 and I have vowed never to go back again. I didn’t have any bad experiences but the way those security people watch you, it is not a comforting feeling. And just to avoid being the also-lived, I prefer to stay at home in the future or just travel in the Caribbean.

    The police are the same all over the world. I think that we in Barbados are somewhat fortunate that if you don’t allow yourself to enter the police’s bad books, you are pretty much safe from them over here. That is not to in any way absolve them from any wrong doing. Just remember folks, it is not a perfect world.


    BFP again says,

    Oh well, then. No need to worry as long as all the police are doing it…

  19. reality check

    “Just two years ago in London, the police shot and killed a Brazilian electrician named DeMenezes in a train station.”

    come on — context, context, context

    Yes it looked very much like an unrestrained killing in the middle of a terrorist attack where many Londoners were murdered. I seem to remember the victim did not stop when police weren’t sure who was who. The terrorists had bombs strapped to their bodies.

    The other factor that you failed to mention was that this story was played extensively worldwide upwards of 1-2 years.

    This is the point BFP is trying to make about no and inadequate news coverage in BIM.

    No facts, nobody talks, nobody covers the story.

  20. Edie

    Perhaps this was a callous action on the part of the police; perhaps it wasn’t .
    Let’s remember, a story has 3 sides: Your side, My side and the TRUTH.
    Not saying that the guy is lying, but we need to hear the full facts before we jump to conclusions.

    Not defending the Police, but they are underpaid and we need them.

    If a mistake was indeed made, let’s not judge the whole force by the actions of a few.
    Generally, the police in Barbados are good people and should be treated well (I AM NOT A POLICEMAN AND HAVE NO DESIRE TO BE ONE)


    BFP says,

    OK… but before we have “the facts” on this incident of a civilian shot in the head, can we have “the facts” on the last unarmed civilian who was shot in the back of the head?

  21. reality check

    sorry for harping on this issue but this is the last comment on this article.

    The past election was fought on some fundamental issues such as corruption, transparency and accountability.

    Do these potentially two innocent Barbadians have any rights to have their story told or is it more of the same old, same old? The whole story not an “alternative” managed truth?

    If the DLP want to rise above the last bunch of human right abusers they must be seen to be requiring full explanations for the situation and coming out supporting and encouraging both the police and the media to investigate and report fully.

    This is not bashing the Police but asking for protection of human rights. The Police must be part of the solution and lauded when appropriate.


    BFP george says

    Amen Brother!

  22. De Original

    To reality check and all others i do believe we should all calm down and get both sides of the story before we run off accusing. I am all for Accountabilty and Transparency. I am definitely not a supporter of Darwin Dottin, I am of the firm belief he should resign his job or be asked to resign. I do think we should gather all the facts in this case and hear boths side before we start attacking the police. We should remember this is based on a newspaper report and we here on this blog dont trust the print media especially in Barbados(for sure I dont). What would be nice is to hear from the police on this matter. Anyone with inside information care to share.


    BFP Says…

    Wise counsel in America, Canada or the UK, De Original… but in Barbados we’re still waiting for the explanation about Stefan Griffith, another innocent unarmed citizen shot in the back of the head about a year ago.

    Good luck waiting for any kind of accountability!

  23. frankology

    Who is in charge of the Police Force? Isn’t it the Attorney General Office. Are you aware a new Government is in place and that person is the Hon. Freundel Stuart? Don’t you feel that Minister Stuart would have been aware of this incident and possibly, the files might be on his desk?

    Come on BFP and attackers, give the Police a break, await the findings and then you can move with your queries. To be sensational don’t mean you are responsible in your deliberations.

    Remember, the outside world are looking at us and will make decisions regarding visiting or investing in our island. So you and your cohorts can go ahead and destroy the island, and when our economy slumps, you will start blaming David instead of looking into the mirror to see your that it is you who propel our down fall.


    BFP Says,

    Oh… so the fact that the police shot an unarmed man in the back of the head last year and did not account for it is the fault of either the past government or this government… but not the police?

    You are of the old way frankology. Frankly… your way of zero transparency, zero rules, zero accountability is long gone.

    You and your party just don’t realise it.

  24. frankology

    “your” in the second last line should be deleted.

  25. Tony Hall

    With all due respect I get the impression that you are very anti-police. I mean you always seem to go after the police. Were you in contact with the police before and had a bad experience?


    BFP says,

    We shall continue to be against the police MANAGEMENT as long as they fail to provide the leadership, transparency and accountability that Barbados needs. Reporters arrested and roughed up by police with the charges just disappearing later. Reporters’ photos erased. Civilians shot in the back of the head with no explanation or accountability. Officers acting against the rule of law. Police using blank search warrants to raid homes in the middle of the night… Women dragged off in the night to be strip searched and have their vagina searched for back rent for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Drug squad officers going after the small fish while leaving the big fish alone (and strangely driving a new pickup truck in at least one case). Officers failing to respond to a spousal abuse call for help because they didn’t dare go into a gated community.

    And on and on and on.

  26. Getting BYE

    Well I am so glad that many people are being level headed and waiting for the rest of the story to be revealed….That is a new one for many of us on this blog *you too BFP*

    It is a pity that we do not maintain this composure in all cases. I have seen people on this blog ** write about how they would physically harm prople etc. to frightening extents although we have only heard one side of the story. Makes me wonder just what kind of citizens they are..

    Good job commentators…


    ** BFP says… by “people on this blog” writing about harming people… you mean COMMENTERS not the authors of BFP… right?

  27. De Original

    As shocked as I am I am in total agreement with frankology. Let the investigation take its course. Also BFP I do believe that there is accountability and transparency in Barbados it just needs to be practiced. I am sure the Ag’s Office will endeavour to produce the findings of any report.


    BFP says,

    Let what investigation take its course? What investigation are you talking about? Has one been announced? Where? When?

    There was no investigation for the last person shot in the back of the head by police. Why on earth do you suppose that one will be done in this case? And what about the last case?

  28. De Original

    See what I mean can even put my words into writing

  29. barbados the beautiful

    To improve morale we need a full inquiry so the police know what they can and cannot do. If mistakes were made let the inquiry make suggestions for new rules and expectations.

    Them give the police the respect they deserve for doing their job properly. Pay them better, give them pride when they do a good job and discipline when not.

    RBPF is a hand me down antiquated out of date top down bureaucracy that is not working. We deserve what we get till we fix it.

    Last year Canada had to help the fire department by ginving them hand me downs. Same for police…no respect for their value to our island.

  30. frankology

    Oh… so the fact that the police shot an unarmed man in the back of the head last year and did not account for it is the fault of either the past government or this government… but not the police?
    You are so fast in your condemnation that you failed to understand my jist. I am not blaming any government for any mistakes regarding any unfortunate shooting. I simply state that the Attorney General’s office is responsible for the Police and before your unwarranted accusation, you should allow the new minister to carry out his investigation.

    Stop trying to defend your mistake in posting this story without substantiated evidence.


    BFP says… So… did the Nation News make a “mistake” by printing their story and carrying the “unwarranted accusation” of the men who were shot?

    Frankology… seriously, you need your own blog if you want to continue with your nonsense. Your entire reason for existance seems to be what a lousy job we’re doing and how wrong we are about everything.

  31. frankology

    We speak about the fourth estate not being sensitive to the public, but in this case trying to be too sensitive the paper erred in not getting an eyewitness account of what transpired on that date.
    You asked “if the Nation made a mistake in printing the story. Read my statement on this date as shown above on “February 4, 2008 at 7:28 pm” .

    Every time someone have to challenge your statement, which sometimes are based on personal sensationalism, before you debate your action with the poster, you become arrogant telling commenters to start a blog. If commenters refuse to post information on your blog. Would your blog command the popularity in the International blogging world?


    BFP Says,

    Dear oh dear, frankology. Have we ever posted something you agreed with? 🙂

    AS to why our blog “commands the popularity in the International blogging world”, I’m just a simple person who spent the last weekend cleaning out diesel injectors that should have been replaced years ago except nobody has that kind of money so we fix and repair and fix and hope and fix some more. (At least I have the sense to put in a purge value last summer so I saved a couple of hours.)

    How it is that our little blog is always in the Top 100 WordPress blogs worldwide – and actually reached #4 during the recent election – is totally beyond my comprehension.

    But hey, there’s no reason to think that you couldn’t do as good a job or maybe even better!

    You’d need your own blog though…

  32. frankology

    Sure muh brudders and sistas. But we have to disagree to agree. That’s democracy. I will lay off this article until I see constructive evidence.

  33. Anonymous

    Be careful Franky…….BFP gine soon pull up stumps and go home!!


    BFP says,

    I am at home. I work nights. Everybody knows that.

    Now Robert, there’s a different animal. If he isn’t flying into Narita, then he’s laying on his back drilling out rivets in Jordan.

    When you coming home, Robert?

  34. sm

    Oh come on.You can come clean now.Let everybody know who you are and why you came into being!You have less than a hundred days before you run out out of material.Thank goodness! You have done Barbados a disservice.


    BFP says,

    Please remember to put spaces after your full stops. Makes for easier reading.

    Thank you.

  35. frankology

    How it is that our little blog is always in the Top 100 WordPress blogs worldwide – and actually reached #4 during the recent election – is totally beyond my comprehension.

    But hey, there’s no reason to think that you couldn’t do as good a job or maybe even better!

    You’d need your own blog though…
    Ain’t want the problem, you guys doing a wonderful job, so why jump in the fray and confuse things. Everybody always feel that they can do a better job than the other person until that person become the leader. This is an area I prefer to be the follower.

  36. Tony Hall

    Dottin clears air on shot youths
    Published on: 2/16/08.

    RECENTLY, a report was carried in at least one local newspaper which suggested that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, in responding to a report at Deacons Road, St Michael, had shot and injured two young men.

    One of the implications that could be drawn from that report was that the police officers acted recklessly. An investigation was immediately ordered to determine the circumstances under which the men were injured and who was responsible for the injuries caused. In the interest of accuracy, truthfulness and accountability, the force now shares its findings with members of the public.

    Sometime on January 19 members of the Force responded to a report at Deacons Road St Michael. As police officers entered that community and prepared to disembark from their vehicle they were fired upon by a young man. One police officer discharged his firearm in response to that attack. Later, it was discovered that two bystanders were shot during the altercation. Immediately thereafter, some members of the public accused the police of being responsible for shooting these two men.

    Forensic evidence and the account of eyewitnesses have clearly shown that neither of the two men was shot by police officers. Furthermore, a man has been arrested and charged with several offences relating to this incident including the injuries inflicted on two persons.

    This incident has generated significant public debate and in response I wish to raise the following points for consideration.

    In Barbados an investigation into the actions of members of the Royal Barbados Police Force can be triggered by a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority. To the best of our knowledge, no formal complaint has been made
    as yet in relation to the matter under reference. In the public interest we urge any person who in any way feels aggrieved by any action of the police in this matter to immediately register their complaints with the Authority.

    Independent probe

    We would welcome an independent investigation into this matter as the reputation of the Force has been impugned by unfounded allegations. It must be noted that Section 11 of the Police Complaints Authority Act, CAP 167A of the Laws of Barbados, provides for the making of complaints by any member of the public who is aggrieved or by his agent. Where the aggrieved person had died or is otherwise unable, the complaint may be made by any other member of the public.

    The powers of the authority, which are quite far-reaching, empowers that body, among other things, to monitor
    the conduct of any investigation by the Force into any complaint, with a view to ensuring that the investigation is conducted impartially. It may also supervise or in specified circumstances undertake the direct investigation of complaints.

    I now draw attention to some other issues. One of these is our search for an understanding of what motivates some members of a community to react in this manner to law enforcement, including a resort to monstrous untruths and hostility. It begs the question as to whether or not this is a display of a general disregard for law and order, authority figures and institutions. We in the force recognise we must engage in much soul-searching. Moreover, from
    a national perspective, it also requires quite serious consideration as to how we are going to resolve these issues.

    The point must also be made that the Force appreciates its obligation to be accountable to the public it serves. Indeed, the concept of accountability is embedded in the core values of the Force. Furthermore, the powers given to the police in the discharge of their duties are statutory, and as such police officers are legally held accountable for their actions. These are ideals in which we believe and, quite frankly, would not have it any other way. They form part of the bedrock of our democracy.

    We also subscribe to the concept of policing by consent as this is not only critical to a stable environment, but also facilitates collaboration and the healthy exchange of ideas between the police and members of the public. This is an arrangement that greatly enhances our capacity to develop effective crime prevention and operational initiatives.

    Police public relations is another matter that comes under scrutiny as we reflect on this incident. Indeed, significant damage, some irreparable, can be done to this relationship when persons are quick to take sides without access to all of the facts. This further underscores the need for the force to continue its practice of sharing timely and relevant information with members of the public. All of this would be done with the understanding that at times certain considerations would impose constraints as to what extent we can share certain information.

    We continue to urge the support of the public for our efforts, and we do so without any expectation of blind support. However, Barbadians must fully appreciate the need to support their police officers as these are extremely challenging times for all of us. Undoubtedly, most Barbadians are aware of the extent of deviance and violence that affects our society.

    Therefore, as we continue to manage the issues of crime and disorder that affect this country, we again call for support of our efforts to maintain stability and order.


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