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ST. LUCIA | Police operations across the region challenged by political interference – former Police Commissioner

Former St. Lucia Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois Former St. Lucia Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois
CASTRIES, St Lucia, Nov. 8, CMC –  A former  Police Commissioner in St. Lucia, Vernon Francois, has asserted that direct interference by politicians in the operations of police forces in the region is a challenge that law enforcers may have to confront on the national level.

Francois made the comment on Wednesday as he addressed the opening session of the intercessional meeting of the Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations (CFPWA) under the theme “How can the CFPWA overcome the challenges of political divisiveness”.

According to Francois, a level of political involvement with the police is acceptable, as politicians are invariably answerable to the electorate.

“The problem, in my view, is when this involvement reflects in areas of obvious interference, such as who the Commissioner should promote and who he should transfer,” the former top cop declared.

He explained that what is required to surmount this challenge is a clear definition and understanding of roles.

“The minister must understand that his role is to provide policy direction for the Ministry, which includes the police, whilst the role of the Commissioner is to operationalise the policy,” Francois told his audience, which included National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis.

He expressed the view that open and frank lines of communication may also go a long way in dealing with the area of role conflict.

“In a practical sense, the Minister would be responsible for obtaining funding for the resources needed by the police and the role of the commissioner is to ensure that the resources allocated are efficiently utilised,” the former police chief observed.

Francois who served as Police Commissioner for close to twelve years was forced to resign after some of the contents of the IMPACS report was released by the former government.

The IMPACS (Implementation Agency for Crime and Security) report was , followed the probe into allegations of 12 unlawful killings by the police during the period 2010-2011.

Meanwhile,  Hermangild Francis, has asserted that corrupt police are killing the Caribbean.

Hermangild Francis

He urged officers attending the intercessional, to help police commissioners get rid of ‘undesirables’.

According to Francis, police welfare associations should not merely looking to better salaries and conditions of work for their members.

“This is one of the things that is really killing the Caribbean – the idea of corrupt police officers. We know them. You in the police force, you know them and it is for you to assist the commissioner of police in getting rid of those persons,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner declared.

“At the end of the day it makes your organization a bad organization and you are going to be heaped together with those bad elements in your police force,” he asserted.

Francis observed that in helping to weed out corrupt cops, police forces will become better, the public will have more confidence in the police and when conditions and salaries are negotiated law enforcers will get what they desire ‘within reason.’

He urged police welfare associations to work in tandem with the hierarchy of the police force.

  • Countries: St_Lucia