Police commissioner on a mission to clean up the force
Hours after the island’s top cop declared a crackdown on crooked law enforcers, one police officer was among three men slapped with drug charges.
Special Constable Jimmy Thorne and his younger brother Jamal Thorne as well as 37-year-old businessman Ross Ashton are expected to appear in court tomorrow to answer a total of 11 charges stemming from the discovery of 12 pounds of cannabis in the trunk of a car on Sunday night.
The 37-year-old lawman who resides at Coach Hill, St John faces four charges – two of possession, one of possession with intent to supply and one of trafficking – while his sibling – a 32-year-old resident of Cherry Grove, St John – is accused of two counts each of possession, possession with intent to supply and trafficking.
Ashton, who was arrested by police yesterday in his Deacons Farm, St Michael neighbourhood is charged with committing acts preparatory for trafficking.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of the opening of the annual police conference at Solidarity House this morning, Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith said administrators would be keeping an eye out for rogue officers.
At the time he said while he would not pass judgement on the officers who had been under investigation this week, in connection with serious criminal matters, the force could not afford to keep any policeman or policewoman who found himself or herself on the wrong side of the law.
“We cannot have rogue cops, the two don’t go hand in hand,” he said.
“So we need to do all in our power to make sure that they are not among us.”
Griffith said the Royal Barbados Police Force needed men of integrity and noted that while there had been an influx of people applying to get into the ranks, some of them were unsuitable.
“We have seen hundreds of people already in the last five, six weeks who have come forward; some good candidates, but there is still the issue of some young people engaging in drug activity. That’s unfortunate,” he said.
And while the commissioner will be focused on making sure the bad apples are removed, Acting Attorney General Michael Lashley, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, said efforts would be made over the coming months to attract people “who demonstrate the moral fibre and intellectual ability to make a positive contribution to the operations of the force”.
Meantime, Griffith reported that there have been “very significant decreases” in serious crimes such as robberies, theft and burglaries. However, he said, gun-related crime remained a worry.
He has therefore committed the force to working harder to address that challenge.
Griffith also said one of his main concerns going forward would be improved community engagement.
“There is no way you are going to be able to address the main issues unless you get closer to the members of the public. We have to work closely with them; we cannot work in isolation. So we will be reaching out more to the communities; more community projects,” he said.
The police chief also stressed that the operational structure of the force would be overhauled to allow for better management of the affairs of the service.
“We are now having a separate HR [human resources] management department, operations department and crime division and we are hoping that that would better manage the affairs going into 2015 and beyond,” he said.