Acting commissioner calls on gov’t to fix police stations in Christmas message

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The Acting Commissioner of Police is warning that the health of officers in the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB), as well as exhibits and cases will continue to be adversely affected if the government does move swiftly to improve the condition of their workplace. In his Christmas message themed, “Challenges and Successes”, Acting Commissioner Atlee Rodney said that the condition of the workplace is one of the major challenges plaguing the constabulary, noting that police officers are being asked to serve and perform in offices and buildings that are not conducive for the task at hand.
He called on the executive arms of government to address the “infrastructural woes,” indicating that production levels will suffer if no immediate action is taken with regards to the state of the buildings and offices. “I urge our minister and our permanent secretary to be the driving forces behind this cause, and use their expertise and influence to have this critical matter addressed early in the New Year,” Rodney said.
The conditions of police stations and holding cells across the island have remained in a deplorable state for years, with detainees and lawyers threatening to sue the government. Meanwhile, as it relates to the year 2018, the top cop described it as a very eventful year for the force, as some of the events included a snap general election, a sudden change to the police’s command structure, the loss of six serving members, the retirement of more than 12 officers, a family feud that led to the shooting death of close relatives and a manhunt that continues, policing a national referendum for the first time, and providing security for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup semi-finals and finals.
Additionally, the police were called to respond to national responsibilities of crime prevention, criminal investigations, traffic management, fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency medical service and general law enforcement along with other obligations. “To all those of us who are still affected by some of the challenges and events of this year, I ask you to depend on the loving arms of God. I also urge you to re-focus on your oath of office, your code of ethics, your high level of discipline and your love for law enforcement. Our loyalty is to the organization and to maintain the ideals of the profession,” the acting commissioner said.
Meanwhile, as he highlighted the successes for this year, Rodney stated that the RPFAB celebrated its 50th anniversary in September, and, in collaboration with the general public and the business community, the force was able to register a considerable reduction in reported criminal activities, compared with 2016 and 2017. “As the leading law enforcement agency within the state, we continue to be proactive by enforcing the laws of the land. Over the past months, we would have removed a number of illegal firearms, ammunition and dangerous drugs off the streets.
We continue to be true to our mandate as enshrined in Section 23 of Chapter 330, which directs us “to preserve the peace and prevent and detect crimes and other infractions against the law,” Rodney said. Throughout the course of the year, members of the force took advantage of scores of opportunities to participate in a number of training courses, workshops and conferences. “There were 29 local courses with 245 participants, 24 regional courses with 51 participants and 18 international courses with 25 participants, giving an overall total of 71 training courses with 321 persons participating,” the acting commissioner said in his report.

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