WITH DAILY reports of misconduct, no one would dare say the Police Service is perfect. But that is not a reason to flout the authority of police officers on whom we all depend to maintain law and order.
The offences range from the smallest of indiscretions to serious criminal activity. Recent reports have yielded a litany of charges such as poor practices at police stations, questionable customer service while performing official duties, abuse of power, and more serious matters such as the disproportionate and fatal use of force as well as a range of indictable criminal offences.
In pursuit of personal vendettas, gun-happy officers have turned recreational spaces into the Wild Wild West, others have been accused of conducting raids without showing homeowners a warrant, and some districts have seen reports of endemic corruption.
All of these are serious matters that do not inspire confidence in the women and men in blue. Worse, they add a further degree of anxiety to an already weary population that must contend with spiralling crime as well as a still vulnerable economy. But we condemn in the strongest possible terms any action or stance which undermines the authority of the police to do their job. It is one thing to identify bad apples in the barrel. It is another to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
By and large the majority of the women and men who daily risk their lives to protect and serve the population do so with passion and integrity. It cannot be acceptable for highway vendors or any other group to brazenly defy police officers citing problems with the Police Service. To accept this kind of behaviour is to open the door to anarchy. Instead, energy should be applied to tackling the problems at our police stations.
What has happened to plans to bolster the powers of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA)? Why has no action been taken to streamline how police misconduct is investigated? Why have arrangements which see cops probe cops been perpetuated even when there is a statutory body set up to probe the police independently? Why must PCA chairman David West and his officials have to traverse the country to beg for reform of the clearly flawed legal regime?
If we are serious about fighting crime, then charity must begin at home. The measures in place to tackle police conduct must be strengthened in order to protect the authority of the police to do the job we need them to do.