Stricter vetting of police applicants

The Royal Barbados Police Force could soon be equipped to stop “troubled” officers in their tracks and possibly turn them around.

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin told the press recently that he would be recommending to Government, the purchase of a piece of computer software that would be used by the force’s human resources department to “red flag” certain behaviours and nip any “out of hand” acts in the bud.

Speaking against the background of the most recent case in which police officers were charged with a crime, Dottin said once the financing was available, the software would be bought.

Making specific reference to recent cases in which lawmen were arrested and charged with various offences, the top cop said these were issues that had caused the force great anxiety and concern.

“Whenever a police officer who is sworn to uphold the law, goes off the track, goes corrupt, or whatever, certainly in the law enforcement community, it is very painful for us,” he noted.

“If there is one redeeming feature though, you can see it is not something that we condone, and that those persons were very swiftly dealt with.”

Dottin suggested tighter vetting of persons who sought to enter the force was necessary.

“And I believe that you are aware, we have progressively tightened our vetting measures for persons who want to work and become police officers,” he added. “The use of polygraph and so on, and there are significant background checks as well.

More to be done

“Perhaps there needs more to be done as well. I’m seeing some software that is being prepared especially for use in police professional departments, professional standards department that could be used by HRs as well, that will track the behaviour of police officers, and when it does seem as though they are going to go off rails, that based on their behaviour, it can red flag it, such that there can be an intervention before they actually go off track.”

Dottin announced that the software should be able to identify officers who are under stress, affected by alcoholism or whose debts are “out of line”. (EJ)

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