A police officer wrote a news article to your news site indicating the short coming being faced by the officers of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda. I am a Police officer with over 20 years experience starting out as a Fire Police and then transferred to serve as a regular Police to serve the citizens of this country.
I read that article and the comments which followed and those who is indicating that officer is lying is either a liar themselves or a political prostitute.
Before I start I want to indicate I support NO political party whatsoever and the issues which will be highlighted happened under BOTH administrations. I am a Police Officer and I’ve been assigned to different Police Stations across the island and everything stated in that letter is true and worst.
There are some stations which has molds in the stations, rats running around, termite infested and essential cleaning supplies are serverly lacking in most Police Stations. Some have poor ventilation, the AC Units aren’t working, inadequate space to function and even the furnitures are in a poor conditions. If you drive pass some Poloce stations across the island you may notice that some officers are mostly outside because believe me I say in those stations the only way to survive is to stay outside and catch the fresh air.
At a particular Police station, the plywood for the roof is rooten due to the galvanise for the roof being rooten, hence when rain comes files has to transferred to another room which is more secure and that room in itself may be already filled with important documents. To the persons who says the government hired 50 new police officers and there is no shortage in Police officers is either they don’t know what they are saying or complete ignorant.
All new 50 Police are assigned to various parts and departments of the Police Force. Some may be placed in the Fire Department, Traffic Department, CID, CSI, K9 Unit etc. Because the new officers are spread across departments, even though there may be new officers to help a specific Department, concurrently sometimes there are retirements taking place. Therefore the numbers does little to nothing to help.
For a few years now when I would’ve requested vacation, the officers in administration would tell me I would have to reschedule my vacation leave because they want to make sure we have sufficient numbers of Police officers to properly man the police force. When I worked in the Fire Brigade, they too faced the same issue. As mentioned in the previous letter Fire Cheif Elvis Weaver on ABS did appeal to the government to hire more Fire Brigade Officer and I also have friends who works in that department who has said many times they too are understaffed.
Now notice now because of he letter written to your news portal on the Police, the Cabinet suddenly started mentioning in the Cabinet notes that significant repairs are being carried out on the All Saints Police station which is welcomed, however what about the other Police Stations and Fire Brigade Stations across the island which are in desperate need of repairs and in the Fire Brigade staffing.
Finally, election season is in full swing, and the government is talking up salary increases for civil servants which is well deserved considering how civil servants are struggling like everyone else in this island to make ends meet. However, I didn’t hear that the Police Welfare association who is responsible for negotiating and barging for Police Officers and by extension the Fire Brigade will also be consulted for salaries increases for Officers of both Police Departments.
I really hope they are because if the Police is included for salaries increases like other civil servants the government will have a very BIG PROBLEM on their hands along with the others issues Police officers faces daily. The Police and Fire Brigade also deserve benefits that other civil servants are getting like risk allowance, medical insurance etc, considering the dangerous nature of job we do to serve the nation. Am asking the government, are we important to the nation?
I hope that with this letter along with last weeks one the government, the Prime Minister the Hounorable Gaston Browne and in particular the Hounorable Attorney General Mr Stedroy Cutie Benjamin Police and Police Commissioner Mr Atlee Rodney address the issues the Police and Fire Brigade faces daily.
Officer A. S.
Senior Police Officer
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