Former high-ranking cop says A&B needs more ‘robust’ police leadership

Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney
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By Kadeem Joseph

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In the wake of two daring daylight robberies in recent days, the police hierarchy has come in for strong criticism from one of their former colleagues.

On Saturday afternoon, the OK Supermarket on Church Street was robbed at gunpoint, with the masked assailant making off with about $2,000.

The police are also actively investigating another daylight robbery that took place at a supermarket in Villa around 2.30pm on Tuesday.

However, former assistant commissioner of police, Nuffield Burnette told Observer that there is a lack of vigorous policing in Antigua and Barbuda.

“The police just seem to lose their way and then it’s like a free flow of nothingness. There is nobody who seems to be pulling things back,” he said. “We have a problem because we don’t have the kind of robust policing.”

The former cop also addressed the issue of regular police patrols within the communities, noting that in his opinion, there are not enough.

“There is no patrol; there is nothing being done and that is part of the reason people think they can pull off [robberies] in high daytime,” Burnette added.

He also pointed to police reforms in Trinidad and Tobago, a country that has been plagued with a high incidence of serious crimes and police corruption, noting that local law enforcement could learn from improvements made in that country.

“Trinidad used to be one of the worst police forces in the region and Trinidad now is like the leading police in the region,” he said, attributing the turnaround to “strong, good leadership”.

He said the public has also “lost confidence” in the police and while Burnette said this is not a new phenomenon in Antigua and Barbuda, he said it has gotten “worse” over time.

“We have a bigger problem, not just to prevent the public from losing confidence [in the police], but we now have to actually build it back and to keep it,” Burnette added.

Observer reached out to Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney for comment, but he was unable to do so before press time.

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