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Monday, December 6, 2021
Home Letters Proper police training

Proper police training

Dear Editor,
Police abuse and brutality continue to plague our jewel Belize unabated. The incident in Cayo of law enforcement officers using brute force and ignorance on one of their own in plain view of his family along with the shooting incident of a policeman at a checkpoint by another policeman, is very disturbing and should be an issue of concern for the entire nation. There are blame and criticism that could go around from all quarters of the society, as we can only sit and watch those in authority struggle to defend such heinous crimes.

One very important factor, from my observation, that has been missing and which is causing these incidents to repeat themselves is the lack of adequate and proper training within our security forces. There seems to be a major disregard of this element for many years in this country. There is no willingness on the part of our government to ensure that our security forces are properly trained, and this lack of commitment is now manifesting itself in these outrageous and alarming approaches to law enforcement.

To have an effective security force, you cannot bypass proper training. Not every person is built to be a part of the military or police. Your qualification to join the ranks should never only be a recommendation from your area representative. Special constables should not be given the same powers as a trained police officer. They should return to be trained properly before being given police responsibilities. Nobody should be able to join the force without a formal education. The minimum requirement should be a least a high school diploma.

I still can recall a few years ago that no other than the Minister of Police at the time visited a developed country and upon his return explained to us that he was shocked to learn that the entire police department of that country was well-educated and trained. Really, that was his only take-away from that official visit. In another instance just recently, the Minister of National Security gave out 3 scholarships to 3 police officers for the completion of their education. How does these approaches help the force to become better and efficient? Today anybody with the right connection could join our security forces. There must be a concerted effort to go back to train our policemen for 6 months at least, and that should be the standard time.

My understanding is that there was a time when police recruits were trained for an entire year at the training academy before becoming a police constable. The proper and extensive training of our military and paramilitary forces is paramount for a safe and secure country. And finally as a professional force that they should be, members must be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor by being eligible to become promoted to the ranks with their experience. A police constable with ten years’ experience or more should automatically be qualified to be promoted. The Commissioner of Police is serving more like a counsel for the force, trying to talk away the ills of his officers which are affecting the society negatively. To achieve effective community policing, adequate and rigorous training must be implemented to an educated rank and file. Until this very fundamental issue is addressed without fear or favor, the concept of a peaceful and safe Belize will remain an illusion.

Concerned Citizen,
J Alvarez

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