A former top Barbados police officer, asserting that traditionally police forces in the region have shied away from the press, has said here that police forces in the region ought to have an official policy for dealing with the media.
Bertie Hinds, a former Barbados Deputy Police Commissioner, is now an independent Consultant and one of the facilitators at the Canadian-funded IMPACT training workshop for Saint Lucian police officers being held at the Coco Palm resort.
Hinds told reporters here that traditionally police forces have avoided the media because of a lack of knowledge about how to use the media.
“Some of us saw the press as our enemies,” he stated.
However Hinds dismissed that view as traditional thinking, asserting that modern day thinking is that an official relationship can be forged with the media by way of an internal police policy on press relations.
He suggested that such a policy could be three-tiered with one tier at the very senior level of the police force, another at the middle management level and one at the station command level with different areas of responsibility and authority to speak.
“Obviously the top brass of our police force will speak on policy – general policy, and the middle ranks, like Superintendent, will speak on operational policy as they see it and then the junior rank at the station level will speak on routine matters at that level,” the Barbadian Consultant explained.
Hinds declared that there ought to be a press policy in place for the police.
“The press is there to send your message to the public and in sending that message to the public you have to give them information,” he asserted.
The former top Cop said to his knowledge, such an arrangement has worked well.
“That is a universal recommendation throughout the Caribbean,” Hinds observed.
He noted that the Royal Barbados Police Force has such a press policy in place.
“It is the way to go. You must have training in press relations,” Hinds declared.
St Lucia Times has been reliably informed that the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) has no such official written policy in place for engagement with the media.