Assistant Commissioner: Sketch artists important
September 28, 2010
Assistant Commissioner: Sketch artists important

The presence of a police sketch artist can be an asset to the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police (RSVPF) Force.{{more}}

So says Assistant Commissioner of Police Lenroy Brewster during an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Friday, September 13, 2010.

Brewster recalled an occasion when the Police Force had a sketch artist, but that person “didn’t come through to any proper maturity.”

A police sketch artist interviews victims of crime, gathers information on the appearance of a suspect and then draws a sketch to match the description given by the victim. The victim then confirms whether or not the description is accurate, while the artist makes adjustments where necessary.

Recently, Barbados Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin commended the police artist of the Barbados Police Force’s Crime Intelligence Unit on the quality of the sketches done of the suspects charged with the Tudor Street, Bridgetown, fire which claimed six lives.

He noted that it was the quality of the sketches that led to the arrest and charging of two men.

Brewster stated that an artist at the RSVPF can be beneficial to all types of cases.

“…In any cases: In the rape cases, in burglary, murder, all those indictable cases…,” he said.

He added that currently the Police Force employs other types of identification methods such as photographs, where a person is given an album to look through to identify a suspect. A police line or identity parade where a number of suspects line up and the victim identifies the assailant and a street identification where a victim can identify his or her assailant if they appear on the street or in a public place.

“If we have a good sketch artist, that will be good,” Brewster added, noting that the quality or the value of an artist can be seen in cases where cameras are not allowed in court, where an artist will skillfully capture the expressions of the persons who appear in court, or show what transpired during court.

He added that the Police Force must adhere to the rules and prinicples which govern identification as it is an important issue. He mentioned that certain information such as the lighting at the time of an incident or whether the victim has seen the person before, among other things, will be paramount in pinning down a suspect.

“Sometimes we just cannot go with identification from a fleeting glance,” he said.

Brewster did not disclose whether or not the Police Force is in the process of recruiting an artist, but noted that the service of a sketch artist will assist the police greatly.