REAL NEWS – The Police are awaiting word from the Cabinet on what measures will be taken to deal with the situation at the St. John’s Police Station, which Commissioner Atlee Rodney deems to be very serious.
Officers assigned to particular departments at that station have already staged three days of a sit-in, which commenced on Monday, July 17, and continued into Wednesday.
They are protesting the deplorable conditions under which they have to work, including an infestation of mold in parts of the building.
Cabinet met on Wednesday, July 19, and Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, who is responsible for the Force, was expected to take the officers’ grievances to the Executive.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Rodney says the condition of the station is bad, and it has been the subjection of discussion among the police hierarchy for some time.
They have been looking at the building and making proposals, he adds, since the entire compound – which houses other departments – needs attention.
Rodney notes that renovations undertaken on the western section of the compound in 2020 improved conditions for officers working in that section.
Although it was expected that the work would have been continued on the eastern section, which houses the guard desk, the Criminal Records Office, the Prosecution Department, and the Minor Offences Department, it did not happen.
Rather, that section was left to fall into dilapidation.
The commissioner says the condition of the station was discussed last week – before the officers took action; and, last Friday, July 14, it was decided that a complete tour of the facility would be undertaken.
This, he says, was carried out on Monday, July 17.
What has been completed so far, Commissioner Rodney says, is a synopsis of the conditions on the compound, as well as a scope of the work that is needed.
Further, a meeting already has been held with the minister and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and with the permanent secretary for public safety.
He reports that Minister Benjamin gave assurances that the issue would be discussed at the Cabinet level; and, based on this, officers are looking forward to some results and improvements to their work environment.
The building is seriously dilapidated, infested with termites, and has serious structural problems.
However, Rodney says, as police officers they must continue to serve in spite of these challenges.
Accordingly, he commends the men and women at the St. John’s Station for continuing to don their uniforms and going out to perform their duties.
In the meantime, Rodney says the Criminal Records Office has been relocated to a section of the CID Office.
Since the Prosecution Department is responsible for preparing matters to be taken before the court, another location is being sought to house those officers – possibly at the Police Headquarters – to enable them to continue their work.
The Commissioner describes the Newgate Street station as a critical component of policing, with the bulk of operational duties performed there.
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