Pompey says police tactics undermine public confidence

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Former Commissioner of Police, Rawlston Pompey said the recent strip search that left 14 teachers feeling violated and humiliated undermines the integrity of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.
On October 11, after school was dismissed at 1:30 p.m. officers from the All Saints Police Station responded to a report made by a female music teacher of the All Saints Secondary School, who claimed the $4,500 she secured in her bag that was in the staffroom, went missing.
One of the teachers who was still on the compound when police arrived said she and her male and female colleagues were subjected to a strip search with officers instructing them to squat and cough.
But, Pompey said the officers were reckless since that type of search was unjustifiable in this democratic society and such an invasive investigation procedure goes against basic police training.
“It was totally wrong. They [the officers] crossed the lines of civility back into incivility, compounded by insensitivity. It was degrading, it was very, very, very disturbing to say the least to any human being,” the former top cop told OBSERVER media.
Pompey said as an officer responding to a report of theft of this magnitude, his efforts would be focused on the person making the report since there was no clear possible suspect identified.
“From my practical knowledge and experience there is a female in jail right now serving time for four years because she was collecting box money for people and when the time came for a person to be paid she cried foul that somebody stole the money. A thorough investigation showed that it was not so and she misappropriated the monies and converted it to her own use. So, I would have been asking why this teacher had $4,500 coming from home…why would you want to leave it?“ Pompey asked.
The money reportedly went missing between a time period spanning several hours. It was only those teachers who were still at work that were strip searched, but, all educators at the institution who would have already left for the day, also had access to the staffroom.
Pompey and former Commissioner of Police Vere Browne who also called into Voice of the People last Friday, agreed that the situation was handled poorly.
“It shows idiocy on the part of the police and I make no apology for that. I was once a law enforcement officer, I keep abreast of what is happening, I once had command and control of the organisation so I know what I am talking about. No one can challenge me about this,” Pompey added.
The Ministry of Education promised a full investigation into the matter, and the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers was awaiting the official report from the teachers who were involved in the matter. 

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