Full Disclosure
February 1, 2008
People, police and politics

Justice should be served in every case. The case of Ipa is no exception, and we must ensure that our dear Brother receives justice.

In recent times, however, there have been many contradictions being bandied about by a few of our self acclaimed propagandists, involving the relationship between our police, our politics and our people. As a people, we must ensure that we never allow the selfish quest for political mileage to bring a rift between the citizens of our state and the very entity which is essentially built to protect us through various processes.{{more}}

Our police force is evolving and, therefore, is in the process of making amends to many aged problems. A police officer who steps out of line must be dealt with accordingly and in this case, by allowing the due process of the law to take its full course. It is in this regard that Brother Ipa must receive the full offerings of our justice system. However, this case must never be politicized through misguided generalizations of any sort which are orchestrated to attack the entire police force unfairly. Those who attempt to color code cases such as these are really hampering rather than assisting the process. The fractures created when a people lose trust and confidence in the police can damage the security of our state irreparably. We cannot afford such today.

It is impossible to increase the ability of the police to reduce crime unless police-community relations are substantially cordial. These relationships have been getting increasingly worse in recent months because of rising reports of alleged frequent physical and verbal abuse committed by police officers against citizens. However, justice must be done in every case.

In many ways, the job of policing is an increasingly complex task. Police work in the traditional sense has always maintained as its focus the duty to fight crime, solve problems and basically enforce the laws of the land. The manner in which this is done sometimes brings to light issues touching and concerning the use of force, and, in some instances, a suggestive abuse of power.

No matter what cosmetic treatment is given to the profession, police organisations will continue to be the constant in people’s lives primarily concerned about public safety, security and certain quality-of-life issues.

Regardless of debate, the public at large must remember that uppermost in the hierarchy of needs, people expect to be safe and protected. In very simple terms, law-abiding, decent people legitimately expect to be insulated and protected from those in our society who are intent on pursuing criminal behaviour. In exercising their duties, police officers must be circumspect in every way.

In recent years, we have seen an inordinate amount of attention being focused on the police profession, some of it worthwhile and constructive, some of it rhetorical. However, justified reproach is more the exception than the norm. The concept of police brutality is so often abused that it may be envisaged that this very abuse can one day assist in preventing serious cases from receiving an equivalent degree of respect.

When the symptoms and the causes of diminished safety in our society continue to be propagated, who other than the police will continue to maintain the thin blue line separating the good from the bad and provide some degree of public safety from certain anarchy? So, to seek political mileage or simply turn an important case as the one involving Brother Ipa into jest or radio politics to no finite end is defeating our noble purpose as a people. We need to build our nation by structurally addressing our problems.

The police have traditionally enjoyed a great deal of support from our citizens, the very people who give the police the legitimacy to protect them. In other words, the community will generally receive the type, quality and quantity of policing it wants and is willing to sustain. It is this fact that validates and reinforces the concept of Community Policing.

Be assured that, regardless of frustrations, as a profession, the police will continue to provide the most efficient and dedicated services that will ensure enhanced public safety, security and quality of life. This can be done by working intimately with the community.

However, when it is alleged that officers abuse their office, the law must be allowed to take its course, without the tainted interest of the misguiding element attempting to avert due process in the interest of political partisanship. Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.