New chief meets force

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The 600-plus-member police force is being asked to give the new top cop, Atlee Rodney,  its full support, and to also cooperate with his new deputy, Albert Wade.
This was the charge handed down by the Police Service Commission (PSC) when it met with the rank and file yesterday morning to introduce the new chiefs a day after suspending Commissioner of Police Wendel Robinson pending a probe
into allegations of sexual harassment of three of his male subordinates.
Several officers who attended the meeting told OBSERVER media that the atmosphere was “positive,” “light” and “very pleasant.” The officer who described the meeting as “light” elaborated that he meant “there was no cloud of darkness anymore. This thing was hanging in the public for too long, and for a while it seemed nothing would be done. It was really uncomfortable.” Others said they already feel a “lift” in the morale and said many officers were “all smiles.”
Noting this, the PSC encouraged those officers present to give their best when serving the nation.
Representing the officers before the commission this week, the Police Welfare Association presented concerns from three policemen and a young man who the top cop allegedly made sexual advances towards.
In one complaint to the commission, an officer said he was victimised after he rejected those advances.
He also expressed fear of further victimisation and possibly losing his job.
Meanwhile, Rodney also addressed the officers at the meeting yesterday and subsequently spoke with OBSERVER media.
He said, “We had a very productive meeting with the senior management team, and they were encouraged to stay focused and strive to improve the image of the organisation and enhance the quality of service to the public.”
In turn, he said, “They pledged their support and continued loyalty to the force.”
When Rodney took a break from one of several meetings yesterday, he also indicated that he was not asked to lead the investigation into the allegations against his colleague, and he confirmed that the PSC told the officers in the meeting yesterday that this is not going to happen. But the body did not indicate who would be conducting the probe.
A high-ranking government official told OBSERVER media on Thursday that the probe would be led by Rodney, and up to yesterday the source maintained that that was in fact what was discussed.
Immediately after the news broke of the suspension and probe, political oppositions condemned any police-led investigation and called for an independent investigator.
Apart from a few lines from STRATCOM, the strategic communications department for the police, no other official has spoken on the matter, including the attorney general who declined to comment yesterday.
The STRATCOM release stated: “The Police Service Commission has suspended Commissioner of Police Wendel Robinson from active duty with immediate effect. Deputy Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney has been promoted to the Rank of Acting Commissioner of Police with immediate effect. Also, Assistant Commissioner of Police Albert Wade has been promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police vice Mr. Atlee Rodney.”
When contacted, police spokesman Lester Bagot said he had no further information on whether the suspension was with pay and whether Wade was being moved from the prison and if so, who would replace him.
Yesterday, government spokesman Melford Nicholas said Wade will remain in charge of the prison unless his workload becomes too heavy. Should that happen, someone else would take over the management of prisons.

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