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Dottin: Be careful on the roads

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Dottin: Be careful on the roads

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Christmas message from the Commissioner of Police of the Royal Barbados Police Force, Darwin DottinIt is at this time of the year that we pause to extend Christmas greetings to our family, friends and loved ones.
Indeed, Christmas is that time of the year when we reflect on the virtues of compassion, sharing and love; examples all shown to us by Jesus Christ, the one whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas Day. In addition to all of this, the Christmas season provides yet another opportunity for me to express my profound thanks to the members of the Force and the general public for their support during the past year.
We began this year faced with the challenge of suppressing certain categories of crime that were fuelled by the illegal actions of persons who chose to exploit the improperly regulated cash for gold scheme. It is unfortunate that the actions of these persons led to an increase in specific classes of offending such as residential burglary, theft from the person and robbery.
Several innovative measures were enacted and sustained as a direct response to this particular challenge. Though we were able to keep these related crimes within manageable proportions, we are quietly optimistic that legislation now under consideration, once implemented in the coming year, will add great value to our efforts to reverse this disturbing trend.
For the greater part of this year, motorists and the travelling public had to contend with the challenges of an increase in vehicular traffic and simultaneous efforts to improve our road networks.Undoubtedly, these sets of circumstances not only tested the driving skills of many but also drew on the reservoir of patience available to all.  As a result, there were instances where many sought to respond to these challenges by engaging in negative behaviour, such as exceeding the speed limit and being discourteous to other road users.  Unfortunately, there were some instances where the ultimate result was the loss of life or other related carnage. Added to these circumstances was the use of roads by some to facilitate the commission of certain crimes, such as the movement of stolen goods and other contraband.  
It is important for all to be constantly aware that motor vehicle accidents do not only result in the loss of life or serious injury to persons, but that there are often the trigger for other variables such as psychological trauma, loss of productivity, cost of infrastructural and other repairs and the increase in insurance and other business costs. My hope is that in the coming year, there will be a response to this particular challenge that results in interventions that are driven by collaborative educational, engineering and enforcement inputs.
The Royal Barbados Police Force remains committed to its mandate of providing the highest quality service to the citizens of Barbados and visitors, for the purpose of ensuring a safe and stable environment. Admittedly, during the year there were instances when the relationship that we have with our various publics was affected by particular tensions. It is to our credit and the quality of that relationship that we were able to withstand these challenges. Undoubtedly, the lessons learnt from these experiences will help us to further develop our character as an organization.  
In our search for more creative ways to improve our quality of service and organizational image, we intend to move into the coming year with a comprehensive reassessment of our core values, our policing strategies and the manner in which we interact with our internal and external public. These are critical considerations if we are to maintain and enjoy public confidence, trust and loyalty.  This is an approach that supports our vision of becoming the most professional police organization within the hemisphere, while delivering quality community police service, maintaining low levels of crime, improving road safety and providing a safe environment for all.  
For the holiday season, I want to urge all Barbadians and visitors to exercise great care and good judgement when using our public roads. For those of us who have to drive, let us endeavour to celebrate in ways that are responsible and free of danger to ourselves and other road users. Let us remember some simple but highly effective safety messages such as: don’t drink and drive, the importance of using safety restraints such as seat belts and the value of driving within designated speed limits.
I wish to end by thanking Barbadians for their steadfast support for the Royal Barbados Police Force. Consequently, in addition to saying thanks to the general public, I also wish to thank the gazetted officers, the other ranks of the Force, and its civilian staff for their efforts during the year. Additionally, I look forward to your continued support as we seek to reposition the Force to meet the immediate challenges of the year ahead and the foreseeable future. Once again, I wish all members of the Barbadian community, the officers and other ranks of the Royal Barbados Police Force, their families and loved ones a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.