Police complaints down 38 percent in 2019
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson suggested yesterday that officers who abuse their power and beat members of the public are a reflection of failed parenting.
Responding to questions surrounding police brutality, the commissioner made the case that officers are recruited from the Bahamian populous, and the public must realize that “you only gone get what you give us”.
Asked about incidents of police abusing their power, Ferguson said: “Those things are always concerning for an organization like the police force.
“We are working hand in hand with members of the public. We continue to talk to officers. We continue to do training in respect [to] how to behave and all of these things.”
The commissioner said each individual recruited into the police force is subjected to a background check.
This process includes interviewing relatives and neighbors, among others, Ferguson said.
He noted in nearly all cases the recommendations are very approving of the individual.
Ferguson said: “We asked questions of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, cousins, neighbors and persons in the community and we ask you, ‘is this person fit’
“[They respond] ‘very nice person, very nice person, you couldn’t find a better person than this individual’. So, we took your word. We took your word and we hire people.
“Your sons, your daughters, your brothers, your sisters and we hired them because they are Bahamians. And rightfully, we would think that all Bahamians would know how to behave themselves, all — not just police officers.”
Quoting Proverbs 22:6, the commissioner said parents should “train up a child in the way they should go”.
“By the time you reach the police force, you ‘ain’ no child,” the commissioner said
“When your reach the police force, you are [accountable].
“So, what do you expect to get. You only gone get what you give us.
“A lot of time people believe the police force is responsible for bringing up your children. That’s not the job of the police force.
“We will train how to maintain law and order, how to behave yourself in carrying out your duties, but training of the child, the mind of the child, is the responsibility of the parents.”
According to crime statistics released by the commissioner yesterday, there were 151 complaints made against police in 2019, compared to the 245 in 2018.
This represents an overall decrease of 38 percent.
The majority of those complaints last year — 133 — stemmed from allegations of unethical behavior.
Of the 151 complaints, 81 matters had been completed, though the data does not speak to the outcome of those matters.
When asked about the turnaround time individuals can expect to learn the outcome of their complaint, Ferguson said anyone who makes an inquiry on a complaint should be updated by the Complaints and Corruption Branch.
He said in cases where no update is provided or the matter is unresolved, the complaint should be followed up with Deputy Commissioner Paul Rolle, whose portfolio includes the Complaints and Corruption Branch and the Disciplinary Tribunal.