Shabby Police stations
By CECILY ASSON Thursday, April 10 2014
Don’t blame the police when guns and drugs go missing from police stations, instead the blame should go to the weak security systems as the present day conditions at the police stations are not suitable to secure such important evidential matters, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Professor Ramesh Deosaran, noted yesterday after touring the La Brea Police Station.
Referring to choked conditions after coming out of the station, Deosaran said, “If you look at what is called a cell here, it is a bench with a pipe in front, with one handcuff, so if you arrest five or six people, they will fill up the whole station.”
He continued, “The question of security of drugs and guns have to be looked at in each police station. These are serious issues, so when you hear drugs missing, guns missing from a police station, it has to be because of a weak security system at the stations. Apart from accountability, just infrastructurally, the conditions are not suitable to secure such important evidential matters.”
The infrastructure at police stations needs to be developed, Deosaran stated.
Following the tour of the station and a closed door meeting with senior police officers, including Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Donald Denoon, Snr Supt David Lewis and ASPs William Nurse and Andy Belfon, Deosaran revealed that conditions under which police officers are made to work at police stations which he has visited so far, are woefully inadequate.
He continued, ”You couldn’t expect in this day and age, improved police performance and higher level of accountability with the existing infrastructure. St Joseph Police Station is close to a nightmare, and that has to be remedied quickly. I am quite sure the authorities are aware, and we will encourage them to move more quickly because police comfort has to be commensurate with police service.”
Deosoran said the PSC’s work is not to build police stations, but to encourage the Commissioner of Police (CoP) and the authorities to do whatever falls within their jurisdiction.
“We are doing that which falls in our jurisdiction,” Deosaran said. “Get the concerns, make the recommendations and press forward and hold those within the realm accountable, such as the Commissioner of Police, and his executive.”
He promised that information collected will help drive such constitutional requirement of accountability, since their work is not only to monitor, appraise and evaluate the CoP and his executive, but also to get from him, certain reports , certain levels of accountability, and also to hear appeals from officers who would be aggrieved of his decision, or any authority that he delegated to do so.
Deosaran and members of his agency have been conducting tours at police stations and meeting with police officers, and hearing their complaints. Crime prevention and detection and the entire issue of crime control must start from the level of the police stations, Deosaran said as he pointed out that officers at the ground level are eager to get involved in developing the overall plans and policies for the police service.
“It cannot be a top down exercise, and we believe that has been happening too much over the years. We ought to get the police officers on the ground level more involved.”
Infrastructure, training and accountability will be the top of the agenda when the PSC meets to discuss the way forward for improvement of the police service. There will also be focus on vulnerable youths between the ages of 15 to 25 in terms of forming a “tighter partnership between police, school and the business community”, he said.
PSC members Romar Achat-Saney and Dr James Armstrong accompanied Deosaran on the tour. Achat-Saney echoed similar sentiments as Deosaran, saying there needs to be more focus on the youth.
Meanwhile, the new La Brea Police Station is expected to be handed over by November to the Ministry of National Security. Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Donald Denoon said officers were anxious to relocate to the new building which is almost complete.