Three senior members of the beleaguered Royal Saint Lucia Police Force have been charged with stealing. They were arrested on Monday, at the conclusion of an investigation that commenced in 2013, according to acting police commissioner Errol Alexander. At the time of the alleged offences the officers were attached to the Richfond police station in Dennery.
“The matter came to the fore in relation to the audit department carrying out its usual spot audits,” Alexander told the media on Tuesday. “A document was sent to the commissioner of police, the matter was investigated and a report passed on to the DPP who issued instructions two weeks ago to the police.”
Asked why for a simple investigation of theft it had taken nearly three years before an arrest was made, Alexander underscored that the police had no control over how the office of the DPP operates. “We cannot move until directed by her office.”
The stolen amount was “over EC$3,000.”
Alexander added: “The unwavering and unanimous position of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force in matters where professional and organizational guidelines are compromised is clear and unambiguous. There is zero tolerance for such behaviour. It is unacceptable; inexcusable.”
He identified the officers charged with “stealing from an employee; failure to deliver money and false attestation”—offences that could carry prison terms of up to two years. The suspended officers are presently on bail but continue to be paid.
Alexander described the circumstances as “unfortunate, particularly because in such cases the public normally paints everyone with the same brush.” He insisted that the majority of officers are “upstanding, ethical, disciplined and law-abiding servants of the people” but warned that the recent development should be food for thought for other police officers.
RSLPF has clear rules and guidelines as to how monetary transactions are handled, said Alexander. “We inspect all police departments every six months and what we are in process of doing is to get inspectorate accreditation from the RSS [Regional Security System] to make them a little more efficient.”
Just last week an audit of the police armory at Anse La Raye revealed that three guns, as well as several rounds of ammunition, were missing. An investigation is on-going, Alexander confirmed.