Retired senior officer says courage and integrity have dropped among membership of Police Force

A former senior officer says that serving members of the Police Force are lacking in courage and integrity and the organization needs revamping.

The retired officer, Nuffield Burnette, says this has always been the case; however, the shortcomings are more pronounced now.

Burnette blames this on the fact that many of the principled officers have since left the Force, and those who remain are not upholding the same values.

He notes that he is not saying the Force was perfect, but he believes its deficiencies have gotten worse over the years.

Burnette, who served in the Force for 38 years and last held the position of Assistant Commissioner, says that restructuring the Force must start at recruitment.

He says the entire process — from selection and training of recruits — needs to be totally revamped, since the current procedures are not adequate.

Members of the Force have been accused of corruption and there is widespread public mistrust.

To counter this, Burnette says, a special committee needs to be installed to bridge the gap between officers and members of the public, especially in instances of disputes and when certain accusations are made against officers.

He notes that accountability in the organisation is almost at zero, in spite of the establishment of the Professional Standards Unit, which investigates claims made by residents against police officers.

Finally, Burnette says the issue of promotion is another cause for concern, since officers are not being promoted by merit — but by favour.

Critiquing the Force has nothing to do with bringing it down, Burnette says. Rather, it is geared at building it up, which is something he has been trying to do since he was a member, he states.