We, the People’s Party of Dominica are of the view that the national security apparatus in the Commonwealth of Dominica is approaching a no-return state of decay. The recent article in Dominica News Online about the appointment of an assistant commissioner of police is a smoke screen, a cover-up if you will, of the underlying cancer that keeps rotting away at the fabric and morale of a once fine Caribbean institution.
The appointment of an assistant commissioner of police with a portfolio of crime prevention, crime reduction, crime intelligence and forensic management is in effect the job of the commissioner of police. Crime prevention is the responsibility of the entire police force, which we would rather call a police service, and so is crime reduction. It makes no sense to establish departments or offices for crime prevention and crime reduction when various departments like the CID and other anti-crime units are already performing these tasks. Criminal intelligence and forensic management are a different matter, as officers can be trained and allocated to these functional departments.
In addition to our recommendations for an enhancement of the national security structure, we are encountering reports of morale dampening, favouritism, and unethical practices within the police force. An issue plaguing a number of officers is the speed at which other officers climb the ranks from subordinate to inspector, assistant superintendent of police and beyond. Many of those picked for such favours have strong political ties to the Labour Party, and/or the top police brass. Now we do not condone not bringing rogue officers to justice, but the manner and circumstances of doing so. By that, we are addressing the questionable entry, search, and detention of Officer Pelham Jno. Baptiste on March 26th. This created a twofold effect: True, it sent a message that no one officer is above the law, but it also sent another message that die-hard party supporters who committed similar allegations as Officer Jno. Baptiste were let off the hook. This has etched an image in the mind of every officer that you are either on one side or the other.
From further reports, even the officers at the pinnacle – those in charge of rank and file, are divided. How can a police organization function effectively, when the top five officers are always looking for ways to either humiliate each other and/or complain to their higher-ups (Minister Blackmoore in that instance) about the underperformance and mishaps of each other? It also sets a dangerous precedence, because it can pit entire departments against one another. This is why we keep hammering that the Special Services Unit needs to be scaled down in terms of military functions, and operate more like a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Unit) organization. Minister Blackmoore should attempt as soon as possible to put unity between the top cops or face something that he is totally unprepared for.
In light of much needed national security reform, the People’s Party of Dominica will enact the following changes, given the opportunity to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica in government:
- 1. Change the name from the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force to the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Service (CDPS);