Dames: Law enforcers who run afoul of law will be held to account

Dames: Law enforcers who run afoul of law will be held to account
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Officers who abuse their power or break the law remain in a “very minority” group, according to Minister of National Security, who said while these officers can affect the public’s confidence in law enforcement, they can be assured that these few individuals will be held to account.

“Those are the minority and where they are found out, you will see the commissioner will deal with them; the commodore or customs and immigration

“This question was asked of me last week, do I have a concern because a number of law enforcement officers are going before the courts and my response was it’s sad, it’s unfortunate,” he told the media at the RBPF’s Training College on University Drive.

“But here it was it’s important, that those charged with the responsibly of enforcing the law when it comes to dealing with their own, they will if they have to and that’s a good sign.”

In recent months, a number of law enforcement members have been taken before the courts and some investigated amid concerns of excessive force.

An investigation was launched yesterday into an officer body-slamming a man during an arrest outside a sports lounge on Balfour Avenue.

This week, two prison officers who defrauded the government of funds after presenting forged sick certificated were remanded this week.

In May, a prison officer was charged in court with drug possession with intent to supply.

Yesterday, Dames said while police officers are painted based on the actions of some as the enemy, the “police are our friends”.

He acknowledged there is room for improvement, but said the few who abuse their power should not reflect on the good work of officers and the police force.

“There are some things he (the commissioner) and his agency need to improve upon, need to do better on,” Dames said.

“Any good leader should see that and come to the realization and the acceptance that I don’t have a perfect agency or a perfect organization.

“There are things I can do better, but you know, they (officers) are there to protect us.

“And as long as we come to accept that; and I think for the most part we should be standing up for them and standing up against those — [the] minority, very few — who try to put a wedge in between us and the police.

“There are times, the commissioner can tell you, and I’ll pick up the phone… and say commissioner I saw something on social media [that] don’t look good, and he would say yes minister I agree with you, we’re investigating.

“The point I’m making here is all of us are in this together. All of us are working toward one goal end, that’s for the betterment of this country.

As he made the case that rapport between the police and the public remains high, Dames said the IACP (International Associations of Chiefs of Police) recently awarded The Bahamas’

National Neighborhood Watch Council, comprised of law enforcement and civilians, with a top award for community policing.

Dames said this reflects well on the police force and that “we are doing things, and we are doing them the right way”.

“That speaks volumes about the RBPF as well as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and our people, the communities of this nation,” he said.

He continued: “The police; I mean these are our brothers, and sisters, and cousins, and aunts and uncles, and godmothers and godfathers, so anyone who seems to suggest it’s an us against them kind of thing is taking us down the wrong path.

“The police [has a] a job to defend the laws of the land.

“They did not create the laws of the land; their job is to enforce it.”