A timely reminder of the importance of the Roayal Barbados Police Force to the well-being of this country was delivered last Wednesday by Dr Chelston Brathwaite, the agricultural specialist who is a former director of the Inter-American Institute For Co-operation On Agriculture. Dr Brathwaite is well recognized for expertise in his chosen field, but his feature address at the 136th Passing Out Parade at the Regional Police Training Centre was akin to an expert exposition on the significance of the force, and it ought to be required reading for every member of this society and especially for all police officers. The graduates were advised to incorporate “calmness, professionalism, maturity, impartiality and patience” in their daily lives. This is solid advice coming from an individual raised in a Barbados where such values were inculcated at a very early age, even though we may not follow such principles these days with the same zeal. And that is another reason for welcoming the speech, since it has become necessary in modern times to remind all our people, including those in the disciplined forces, of the need to adopt “in their daily lives” the very qualities of which Dr Brathwaite speaks. We cannot overemphasize the timeliness of this wisdom, given the stresses and strains said to have enveloped from the top to rank and file of the police of late. Young graduates entering the Police Force will therefore have received a clear prescription for their daily lives, which should stand them in good stead as officers, because the nature of the profession shows that when policemen and policewomen lead wholesome and well ordered lives, they acquire a certain moral authority to enforce law and order entrusted to them. And very often the moral authority commands the easier acceptance of the officer’s power. Clear and correct If any of the young officers doubted the substantial contribution a good Police Force could make to the society, Dr Braithwaite spelt it out in language which we adopt because it is so clear and correct. “No country in the world has been able to prosper in an environment of high crime and social chaos. The contribution of this noble profession to peace needs to be recognized by all. “The Police Force needs to be provided with all the tools and resources necessary to continue this important work in the process of nation building.” Training to be a police officer, as Dr Brathwaite advised, was designed to allow graduates to be of service to the country, and to their fellow men for a lifetime. It was not, he added, designed to put a certificate on the wall of an office or home. The Royal Barbados Police Force has an honourable history and a proud record of service to this nation. It has in the main kept us free from the kind of disruptive behaviour that has characterized some other jurisdictions – mainly through the exercise of proper policing practices. Dr Brathwaithe’s feature address, properly understood and acted upon, will enable the force to enhance its already high reputation as it moves into an era when technology may be forcing changes in the way the police do business. The burden of the speech is that policing is a profession in which service is paramount and in which the attitude of every police officer towards the practice of certain established values can make or break that approach so necessary for the proper execution of a most important national duty. It is a timely reminder well delivered, and we hope properly accepted by all police officers.