ALTHOUGH it was announced on Wednesday that the planned security comfort patrol initiative has been cancelled, president of the Estate Police Association, Deryck Richardson, said their membership would have been better equipped to undertake the task of providing added eyes and ears for the national security patrols.
Richardson, in a conversation with Newsday highlighted the Supplimental Police Act, where in sections14 and 15 it says estate police have the powers of a police officer below the rank of corporal. This means, not only can they arrest, but they can execute summons, and warrants and follow whatever instructions a magistrate gives.
The act also says that with the permission of the Minister of National Security, the Comissioner of Police can also call out estate police officers.
“The option was there at their request,” Richardson said.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of National Security in a release to the media, announced that four security companies, including Allied Security Ltd, Amalgamated Security Services Ltd, Innovative Security Technologies Ltd and Protective Agencies Ltd, would be hired as extra security forces and be added to the ranks of the police service, while government continues their attempts to contain covid19.
In a statement made at the Ministry of Health covid19 update on Wednesday, Stuart Young said the initiative was an attempt to be proactive, and the hired security officers would have acted as “eyes and ears,” with no powers to arrest.
But in the same statement, he announced the initiative was cancelled and said it was because of the public outcry, alluding that they felt safe enough.
“They (security officers) would have been exposed to things that trained estate police officers would be better equipped to deal with,” Richardson pointed out. “Patrolling in residential areas is a normal duty for us. We are not opposed to community comfort patrolling what we had issue with is the people earmarked for these duties would not have been estate police officers. When the state is involved in hiring security services there must be some form of transparency in the form of whom they are engaging with.”
Richardson explained that estate police officers are given training and put through a test set by the commissioner of police and corrected by officials in his office. If recruits pass, they are given a certificate from the comissioner’s office and made so swear an oath to protect and serve similar to that of a police officer’s oath.
Richardson said had the initiative gone through, security workers may not have been properly represented.
“They do not have anyone to bargain for their wages. This was one thing that we opposed.”
Group Marketing Manager and Head of Communications for Amalgamated Security Ltd, Robert Baur, declined comment when Newsday contacted him by phone.
"All questions should be directed to the Minister of National Security," he said.
Attempts to contact officials at Allied Security Ltd, Innovative Security Technologies Ltd and Protective Agencies Ltd proved futile up to press time.