Barbados is fully and adequately policed.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, has given this assurance, amid growing concerns about police officers being affected by the COVID-19 virus, following the closure of the Hastings Police Station for the second time.
Speaking during a COVID-19 update and press conference this evening, Mr. Marshall said he was “confident” that the country was adequately policed.
He explained that Government had authorised the Commissioner of Police to reach out to a number of retired members and invite them to return to the Royal Barbados Police Force and assist with carrying out some of the activities presently done by police.
“Such things as taking calls. There are a number of duties that our police officers do that do not require police officers. It is not commonly known that police officers pump fuel for police vehicles. These are trained officers.
“We are going to be bringing back a number of retired officers who have their country at heart and who are willing to come back and…do some of these policing jobs to ensure the force is policing…,” the Attorney General noted
He added that while Government was concerned about police officers getting COVID-19, it was also concerned about nurses, prison officers and everyone in the country contracting the virus.
“Police officers are members of the Barbadian society just like nurses and doctors and prison officers and people who work in stores. They engage with the public…more than most people. The fact is that police officers are susceptible to the same illnesses that as every other Barbadian, and they are susceptible to contracting the COVID-19 virus.
However, Mr. Marshall gave the assurance that all necessary precautions were taken to ensure that police officers remained safe during this period through the provision of masks and personal protective equipment.
“Notwithstanding, we have had some challenges…what is more important is that from as far back as February last year, we recognized there was potential for the COVID-19 virus to affect the Royal Barbados Police Force. We put plans in place then, and those plans are being carried into effect now,” he explained.
The Attorney General added that the police force was on a heightened state of alert given the challenges at Her Majesty’s Prison.
“The police are on the front-line monitoring people complying with the COVID protocols. We had to stand up patrols to monitor the various quarantine sites, we had to provide security for the isolation centres in addition to doing the regular work,” he observed.
He said they had responded by calling back out police officers on vacation, we cancelling leave, and utilizing police officers who are not normally on the frontline such as band members to come and do day to day policing activity.