EDITORIAL: Full support for police moving against crime
WITHIN RECENT TIMES, several households and businesses in communities across this country have been confronted by criminals whose modus operandi would have left many more than their immediate victims afraid for their safety.
It certainly was not the first time Barbados faced a sudden spike in violent crimes, but after an extended period of relative calm, these incidents would have had a jarring impact on citizens.
And while the causes of crime, particularly violent crime, can be many, we don’t believe that anyone would argue against the position that regardless of the origin, a strong and decisive reaction from the police, along with structured appropriate social programmes by Government and civil society, is vital.
We believe it is necessary to make this point in light of a number of concerns expressed on Sunday when police mounted multiple operations across the country, stopping and searching vehicles and their occupants as well as pedestrians. In every instance, the complaint related to the use of convoys of marked police vehicles and officers who were clearly detailed to take a zero tolerance approach to lawbreaking. This method of policing offended some segments of the population, even though we heard nothing to suggest that anyone’s rights were trampled.
For the record, we offer our unqualified support to the high command and rank and file of the Royal Barbados Police Force on the operations mounted over the weekend. The brazenness of the criminals who in recent weeks appeared to have had no fears when preying on innocent Barbadians requires robust policing.
If you were a law-abiding citizen going about your business on Sunday and happened to be stopped by or found yourself caught up in the backup from one of these operations, you might have considered it inconvenient – but we believe it was a small price to pay for your continued security.
Criminals don’t find guns at the scenes of their deadly acts – they travel with them. And if the police are to break the back of this scourge, then we have to be prepared to support them when they act to confiscate these weapons on our streets. By the same token, those who come into our communities and push dope to our children don’t grow or manufacture it at the point of sale – it has to be transported on our streets.
As law-abiding citizens we must be prepared to pay a small price for our safety and security, which includes living with the inconvenience of these police operations; or we will have no choice but to pay an even bigger price as we lock ourselves away in our homes.
If Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith believes it is necessary from time to time to blanket our roads and communities with every working police patrol vehicle and every available man and woman of the constabulary, then we have a duty to support rather than complain.
In fact, we wish he would do it more often, because if as many lawmen and marked vehicles were on the road on April 6, perhaps bandits would not have been able to kidnap and rob the St Philip gas station proprietor and get away with it. If the streets of St Peter were being criss-crossed by police convoys, robbers might not have been able to hold up the KFC Speightstown branch on the night of April 15 and get away with it.
Let the police do what they must, within the confines of the law, while understanding the need to win and maintain the cooperation of Barbadians generally, and criminals will find it much harder to terrorise the country.