EDITORIAL: Thumbs up for lie detector
Barbados has been fortunate to have a good police service and one which has not been fraught with systemic problems besmirching its reputation as has happened in other territories in the Caribbean. This is a record which needs to be kept intact.
So the initiative of Acting Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith, in applying the use of technology to bolster the image and reputation of the force should be warmly supported by all right-thinking Barbadians, including the men and women of his department.
The application of lie detector tests to policemen must not be viewed as an intrusion on their roles and duties but a necessity if the service is to be held to a higher standard and to win the trust of the entire community. Undoubtedly, there will be various arguments advanced, especially legally, in opposition to the new measure. But the police have nothing to hide in their service of love for this country.
This one act of the use of the polygraph test will lend credibility and build trust for our police service. It can remove accusations of misconduct, avoid high legal expenses and save reputations of hardworking officers from being damaged or destroyed. It should also help in defending the police service against accusations of cover-ups, especially during any review of the actions of its own men.
Most members of the police service are honest and fair individuals who undertake the dangerous duty of keeping the people of this country safe while responding to or preventing crime. They do it daily without just reward. Yet, they always face criticism of misconduct, sometimes unfairly so. Yes, there are some rogue cops whose actions can undermine the entire constabulary, and so every effort must be made to curtail their actions or boot them out.
This is why Acting Commissioner Griffith’s initiative in application of lie-detector tests is so important and timely. His initiative should be copied by other departments within the public sector, particularly for employees of the Customs and Immigration Departments and the Barbados Revenue Authority.
This may be a good way of overcoming some negative public perception with these agencies.
We also implore Mr Griffith to apply the use of modern technology in other ways. A good example is to have all the vehicles in the Royal Barbados Police Force outfitted with dashboard cameras and in some cases uniformed officers with wearable cameras.
The acting commissioner has actively identified an issue which can impact severely on his department. It is that of trust and credibility. He has moved to rectify the problem by instituting a workable solution. Along the way, he has provided strong leadership which should instil confidence in the wider community and among his officers and ranks.