“Incidents of Barbados Police being a bit shy or late to respond to gun calls are also becoming more common.”
Another case of unanswered 211 Police Emergency call!
Police didn’t show up until the next morning for “Robbery with Gun” call
Several folks sent us this story that is circulating on the internet via email and Facebook. WE CAUTION readers to take this story with a grain of salt until we receive some independent confirmation, but stories of Emergency 211 calls not being answered are becoming a weekly event. Incidents of Barbados Police being a bit shy or late to respond to gun calls are also becoming more common. Commissioner Dottin remains silent about this life-critical failing. We’ve written about that here and here but that’s only a small sample of what people are hearing and talking about.
Commissioner Dottin: Why isn’t the 211 Police Emergency number being answered?
Here is the current email with the names, email addresses and other details of the victim removed. The full version circulating has many personal details that we’re not about to publish here…
Last night around 12:30am former Fort George resident “H” was robbed at gunpoint outside his current residence at Rendezvous Ridge where he resides with his mum and grandmother. I spoke with “J” this morning and she advised that “H” parked on the curb outside the house (being the last in and the yard was full) and immediately as he opened the car door a gun was placed on his cheek and he was ordered out of the car. He was ordered to hand over his wallet, cell phone and jewelry and then the two assailants got into a green sedan parked nearby and drove away. A combination of youth and _ _ _ _ _ then ensured that he started his own car and gave chase and followed the car into Sergeants Village where the car was parked. At that point “H” drove to the nearest pay phone and dialed 211 and got no answer so he was forced to leave and head home to use the home phone and call other police numbers. The police arrived this morning to investigate and were taken to where the green car was last seen (of course it was gone) and take statements etc. “H” confirmed that the man who did the talking did NOT have a foreign accent.
This incident follows another one at the same residence last Saturday night where a man was spotted on the pool deck of the said residence and was chased by “H” and his sister’s boyfriend up the road. During the chase they failed to flag down a passing police car and again on that occasion 211 also failed to provide an answer.
Here’s another story of unanswered 211 Emergency Calls from The Barbados Advocate. You should read it at the Advocate’s website, but as usual we have to reprint the whole story here because that newspaper regularly changes or deletes stories for political and other agendas…
What’s the 211?
By Shari Clarke-Babb
Picture it. It’s late. Very dark. A single woman living alone is suddenly awakened by a noise outside her bedroom door. Trying not to panic, she grabs the closest thing to a weapon she can find, and with her free hand dials 211. One ring. Two rings… After the tenth ring with no answer, she hangs up.
Her fears of an intruder are confirmed as she hears the quiet clicking of the doorknob being tampered with. Becoming more and more afraid with each passing moment, she tries 211 for a second time. Once again, there is no answer, and a scream escapes her throat as the door opens slowly, revealing the large, ominous-looking figure of a man. Can anyone tell me how this story ends?
Okay, I’m known for being a bit melodramatic sometimes, but I needed to paint this picture to stress my point. How on earth can there be an emergency number that no one answers? Just a few nights ago, my mother and I noticed a young man dressed in black snooping around our cars. After shouting a warning, we quickly dialled the police emergency number 211 and, you guessed it – no answer. A few months ago we needed to report a domestic disturbance, and it was the same story – no answer. We were discussing the matter with a family friend the other day, and she too had the same experience when trying to report a break-in. Maybe we just had bad timing and that’s not what usually happens, but it seems very much like a pattern to me, and the fact that we weren’t the only ones to whom it happened doesn’t bode well for any arguments to the contrary.
I’m sorry if I offend or upset members of the Royal Barbados Police Force – or anyone else, for that matter – but it’s simply not good enough. When people call an emergency number they are usually in a vulnerable position, in some kind of danger, and I can’t for the life of me understand the point of 211 at all if nobody is there to assist when the caller needs it most. Luckily for me, I’ve never been in a life or death situation and in need of police assistance, because I’m not entirely sure the situation would work out in my favour if it depended solely upon a telephone call.
I remember being addicted to ‘Rescue 911’ as a child and watching in awe as police officers, paramedics and fire-fighters responded with lightning speed to emergency calls, making dramatic rescues in some of the most terrifying real-life situations I could have imagined at the time. Now, I would never compare our system here in Barbados to that of the United States as it would be extremely unfair and unrealistic of me. After all, we have neither the resources nor the manpower they have at their disposal to be able to achieve the same level of service they provide. However, that said, emergency response services are a basic, indispensable element of any society and all efforts must be made, therefore, to ensure that ours are reliable and efficient.
My suggestion? If manpower is such an issue, instead of having three different numbers for Fire, Ambulance and Police, why not just have one centralised number? I know I’m no expert, but to my mind, with the proper training and management, that would be much easier to handle and the operators could then alert the relevant emergency department with the push of a button. I refuse to believe that we don’t have enough people to man ONE telephone number. Furthermore, it would also eliminate the need for a panicked caller to be forced to remember which number corresponds to which emergency service.
Again, I mean no disrespect to our hardworking officers of the law. I just feel it’s something that needs to be considered, sooner rather than later.