Ever such to serve and to protect

No one can trust the bad cop –– not even his partners in bribery, sop and corruption. His cooperation will be with his briber, or transitory blackmailer; his allegiance ultimately to himself –– and his practice will be a discredit to the Police Force and a betrayal of the people he was sworn to serve and protect.

His like are good only for the TV series and the movies.

We expect that as professional law officers our members of the Royal Barbados Police Force will represent the law, represent their organization, represent the ideals of the police profession, represent the Constitution, represent the Government of Barbados, and finally, but not least, represent the people. The one thing that good officers do not do is represent themselves. Unworthy goals, agendas and egos ought to be irrelevant to the mission statement of the police.

And, faithful obedience to the law has to be more than just following instructions from on high. There must be character-based loyalty, which is underscored by fulfilling all the expectations alluded to above.

That is why it strikes us that in a strange and bizarre way, some Barbadians have come to accept that in every organization –– not exempting the Police Force –– there must be the discreditable, the shady and the venal; and you learn to manoeuvre around them: live and let live! This may work well in the underworld; but the modus operandi is nothing to be agog about in those spheres of activity where are expected to abound: decency, honesty, truth, balance, fairness, confidence, character and justice.

For this reason alone, “the bad apples” in the Royal Barbados Police Force ought to have been thrown out a long time ago; for another, as Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith has publicly declared, it is no secret who the guilty officers are. So, why are they still in our force?

To his credit, Acting Commissioner Griffith has pledged to go after them; and he wants his senior officers to watch his back. “You who have contributed 30 years or more in dedicated

service,” he urged them, “need to encourage the younger members of the force in a similar path to always give of their best to the organization . . . . It is also your responsibility to do all in your power to eradicate those small pockets of persons whose conduct has been unethical and, at times, downright corrupt.”

Mr Griffith, at an awards ceremony honouring 192 long-serving officers last Sunday at Solidarity House, pleaded with his senior men and women: “You . . . need to do all in your power to assist in ridding the force of [the bad apples], as they sully the reputation of an otherwise great organization.”

Magnanimous as ever, the Acting Commissioner would grant the culprits the opportunity of doing the “honourable thing”: stepping down from their posts. The question arises though: when they do, will they face prosecution (having demonstrated guilt beyond a shadow of doubt), or will amnesty be their merciful reward?

With a determined Mr Griffith leading the charge against the unsavoury sooner or later, one way or the other, these would-be discredited cops will find themselves between a rock and a very hard place. Maybe, they are already there. After all, the police boss says “everybody knows who they are”.

Perhaps, these wayward officers –– at least some of them –– could commit to mending their ways, re-entrusting themselves to the traditionally high standards and values of the Royal Barbados Police Force, as alluded to by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, as he himself addressed last Sunday’s awards ceremony.

Their failing this, Mr Brathwaite would have these “weak links” of the “strong unit” that is our envied Police Force “weeded out”. We would simply have them discharged!

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