Today is day one of a six-month training programme for new recruits to the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS). An opening ceremony was held this morning at the Police Headquarters in Brades.
This is the eight cohort of police officers to be trained on island. Prior to this, RMPS officers were trained in Barbados. Commissioner of Police Steve Foster said training officers on island, not only reduced cost but enable them to be immediately subsumed in the department without need for additional orientation.
A total of 11 officers are in the cohort, two women and nine men. Inspector and Chief Instructor Maleka Newell said no Montserratians applied to join the police force. This, she said, was disappointing as it was a noble profession which provided an opportunity for service to country but also self-discipline. Inspector Newell said the salary and shift hours were some of the reasons why local young people said they were not interested in the job.
During his address, Commissioner Foster indicated that the current salaries for officers needed to be reviewed. He also stated that in order for the police to continue to maintain and further reduce crime on island, they needed several issues to be resolved. These included, purpose-built barracks for recruitment training (currently using Salem Police Station), upgrading of the Salem station, a new fire tender and better terms of service for officers.
Newly appointed Chief Magistrate Vashti Chatoor gave the keynote address. Using experiences from cases involving police officers on Antigua and the British Virgin Islands, she encouraged the recruits to honor the uniform their wore and to be aware it was not a license to disrespect or abuse civilians. “What you do reflects on everyone and you speak for the uniform, it does not speak for you,” the lawyer said. “Being a police officer does not automatically make you of good character.”
She challenged the young officers to have ethics and integrity at all times. She said their training must become second nature to then that whether on duty or not, they would make decisions that are in accordance with the law.
For the coming six months, the officers will be trained in conflict resolution, fire arms, and communication among others.
The recruits are Dyan Archer, Joshua Darroux, Rahana Lloyd, Kelvin Seaman, Dillan Lavinier, Randall Farquharson, Kassim Billingy, Randel Diamond, Francis Myers, Roald Richards, and Terique Thompson.