Wednesday, August 10, 2022

RSLPF Praised For ‘Responsible Use Of Force’ In Apprehending Mentally Challenged Man

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Members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) have received praise for handling a situation involving a man described in a news report as mentally disturbed and suspected of starting a fire in a room of a Laborie house on Tuesday.

HTS Evening News said the police used rubber bullets to subdue the man and showed footage of an officer firing one round, hitting him in the back when he resisted arrest.

The police subsequently apprehended him.

“The manner in which police officers demonstrated the responsible use of force and safely apprehended this gentleman suffering from mental illness is highly commendable,” the President of the National Council Of and For Persons With Disabilities (NCPD), Merphilus James, told St Lucia Times.

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“We commend the actions of the police in this case who are often accused of using excessive force especially in their apprehension of people with mental illness,” James stated.

Nevertheless, he noted that inappropriate use of rubber bullets, as shown in protests worldwide, can cause severe injuries, increasing the population of people with disabilities.

“Here in this case we are very thankful that this incident was handled very well and the situation was de-escalated in this manner,” James told St Lucia Times.

He recalled that people with mental illness had made the news headlines for the desecration of church property, excessive force against them, and being abused in public and even in church in the past few months.

James observed that when people act violently because of a condition that is most times no fault of theirs, there are ways to handle them with utmost care and responsible force to ensure minimal harm to them and others.

And the NCPD President noted the need for continued education on mental health issues amid a myriad of mental problems plaguing people, including anxiety, depression, and psychosis.

James acknowledged that there had been an increase in the awareness of mental health issues over the years.

But he told St Lucia Times that the focus had been a lot on suicide and suicide prevention.

Headline photo courtesy HTS Evening News


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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


  1. Glad to know that police, somewhere, hold black life as important as every other life in humanity. I applaud whoever implemented the policy. I also am thankful that an officer or officers executed their training so as to preserve life.

  2. NO!No! NO! …praises will be given in a few years when all mentally challenged persons are handled in the same fashion. Not just the ones, who were once prominent persons or the ones from prominent or Well-off families.

    I know of a once well-established man who suffered a breakdown, and was extremely violent. He was subdued by the special services in the early 2000’s using this same method. The officers personally knew who he was in his past, knew he was a well respected and law abiding person before the breakdown.

    However less than a few months after, a not so well-off mentally challenged individual, who was less of a threat was killed in the south, for holding a stick.

    This means, they were always trained some are just unprofessional!

  3. This is what happens when there are effective policies in place. I have been reliably informed that the Southern Division of the RSLPF has had in place a policy for handling mentally challenged persons for the past six years or so. And since it’s introduction, not one mentally challenged individual has been killed or seriously injured at the hands of the police. My only question though, is if it works in the South, why hasn’t it been implemented in the entire island? Are we waiting for a mentally challenged person from a well to do family to be harmed first. The mentally challenged in this country deserve better and if this policy gives that to them, then why not embrace it. Good job officers for not treating this sick individual like an animal. Hope we see more of this from the police.

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