Police Need To Improve Customer Service

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The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) has received positive reviews about its performance in managing and solving crime across Barbados from members of the general public.

But, at the same time, it has received strong recommendations on the need to improve its customer service; the way officers respond to calls; and how they treat the public in the execution of their duties.

These were among the main findings of the RBPF???s 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey, which was revealed on Wednesday at the Prince Cave Hall at the District ???A??? Police Station.

One thousand, seven hundred and eighty-one persons were surveyed across 11 parishes.

Senior Research Officer at the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit (formerly the National Task Force on Crime Prevention), Kim Ramsay, said 75 per cent of those surveyed were generally satisfied with the police, while less than 10 per cent were dissatisfied. Another 14 per cent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

She noted that one of the conclusions drawn from the study indicated that there were too many complaints of poor customer service by lawmen, with the general view being that some police officers ???were too aggressive and lacked people skills???.

???A Force which has a high level of complaints of poor behaviour displayed by its members runs the risk of losing the respect of its public,??? Ms. Ramsay cautioned.

However, she added that 72 per cent of respondents indicated that they were still confident in the police to prevent crime, compared with 15 per cent who were not confident.

Departments such as the Special Services Unit (SSU), Drug Squad, Criminal Investigations Department and the Public Relations Department came in for high praise during the survey.

However, Ms. Ramsay noted that 73 per cent of respondents rated police high in solving and handling murder; 71 per cent for offences of drug possession and trafficking; and 70 per cent for burglaries.

???Of all crimes, respondents were most dissatisfied with police handling of domestic violence, (42 per cent). They were also dissatisfied with police handling of firearm and weapons offences, with 19 per cent of them expressing this view,??? the Senior Research Officer stated.

Meanwhile, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Traffic Division received the highest ratings for unsatisfactory performance from the public, standing at 15 per cent each.

Among the recommendations made were for lawmen to improve their response time to calls, especially emergency calls, and resources to assist the Family Conflict Unit in not only educating the public about domestic violence, but also the handling of such matters across the island.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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