Police want more alternatives to use of firearms

Saint Lucia police have raised the issue of more alternatives to the use of firearms with National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis.

The issue was raised this week when Francis held a meeting with members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) who work in the North of the Island.

Cabinet, by way of a conclusion dated September 21, 2015, approved a Use of Force Policy for law enforcement officers.

However one police official told the Times that everything should be in place for that policy to work effectively, including enough devices that provide the police with alternatives to the use of firearms.

As far as the official was concerned, the current alternatives are inadequate.

The Use of Force Policy prescribes three levels of force – physical, mechanical and lethal.

Physical force includes the use of fists, hands and feet, while mechanical force involves the use of a device or substance other than a firearm, to overcome resistance to the authority of a law enforcement officer, the policy says.

Lethal force  involves the use of a firearm, bladed weapon, vehicle, nontraditional-weapon or force reasonable anticipated or intended to create a substantial likelihood of causing death or serious bodily injury,” according to the policy, which lists several factors to be considered when determining the reasonable use of force.

The Times has been reliably informed that a shipment of tasers is currently awaiting clearance at the Customs and Excise Department.

Saint Lucia Police have come under fire in the past for the use of deadly force in situations where members of the public felt that alternative methods of subduing an individual could have been employed.