March 5, 2010
Officers urged not to abuse their power

“Police officers must remember that they will not always be in the police force.”##M;[more]##

Those were the resounding words of Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams as he addressed a Sergeants and Corporals conference on Thursday, February 25, at the Old Montrose Police Station.

The DPP is of the view that officers are expected to exercise a greater level of restraint, respect and discipline for a person’s fundamental human rights than any other ordinary citizen.

He noted that police officers are vested with “awesome” powers but on the other hand, the constitution and law courts are there to protect individuals. “There is temptation at times to utilize one’s authority and use it to get the ends you desire, but any time you are tempted to be abusive or domineering, just think about the person on the receiving end and if it is something you would like,” Williams pointed out.

Williams stated that when “we protect the rights of the weaker ones, the stronger ones can have a better life.”

Furthermore, Williams said while persons may have an understanding that a person is a troublemaker and they have to be locked down, certain criteria must be met. “You have to fulfill certain fundamental criteria and have to obey what the law permits us to do and refrain from what is says you can’t do,” Williams further stated.

According to the DPP, persons can harbour spite and malice against police officers if discipline is not exhibited. “We want effective policing. We have to do it vigorously, positively, assertively but always respectful to the laws of St Vincent,” Williams added.

He also noted that policing in ancient times is not the same as policing today. “The things you could have gotten away with years ago, you can’t do that today. The courts have taken a very serious strong position,” said Williams.