Editorial

Questions for the police after more balderdash from ACP Welsh

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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We note the speed with which the police high command moved to shut down Bishop Dr Gary Welsh after he chose to subject the public to a second round of balderdash in the space of a week.

The action came on the same day that the media reported Bishop Welsh, the assistant commissioner of police who was just last month placed in charge of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB), declaring that he had a “divine revelation” regarding how the constabulary would deal with traffic offenders.

According to ACP Welsh, the police will establish customer service centres for motorists who run afoul of the Road Traffic Act.

“You will not be pulled over on the highway or in the narrow corridors; you'll be taken off the road [and to the customer service centre],” ACP Welsh announced in an address at the inaugural International Symposium on Traffic Crash Investigation and Black Box Analysis held at Caribbean Maritime University on Monday.

The first such customer service centre, he said, will be set up at Police Officers' Club in St Andrew and there, motorists accosted by the police “will go through the same procedure you go through when you go for a visa at the US Embassy, or when you go to the bank”.

He added that a numeric customer service system has been ordered and will guide the order in which people taken to centres are served.

“When you come and you see that you have number 50 and we are now serving customer number 3, you can complain all you want, we are here to serve you.”

He also said that when people go to a customer service centre the authorities will run their driver's licences to see if they have outstanding warrants, check to determine whether they owe child support, or if they are gang members.

He went even further, telling the country that the police will seek out traffic violators who ignore court summonses, on Friday afternoons, arrest them and take them to court on Tuesdays. The clear indication therefore is that such individuals will spend the weekend in jail.

Probably ACP Welsh was emboldened by the lone voice of support he received for his nonsensical act of not prosecuting a man who came forward last week identifying himself as the driver who engaged in a dangerous stunt in a car at a busy intersection in the capital city.

Or maybe ACP Welsh, having accepted within himself that he was guilty of spewing hogwash in that incident last week, decided that it was time to get tough.

Either way, he again subjected the police force to ridicule and as such has been reassigned by Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson who, interestingly, did not say where the bishop is now sitting.

But even as we acknowledge the police high command's assurance to the public that the policy regarding the processing of traffic offenders has not changed, we hold that General Anderson has some questions to answer.

For instance, ACP Welsh gave a start date of September 1 for this new regime. He also said that the numeric customer service system has been ordered and spoke of specific tasks that will require personnel and management.

Were these measures discussed and agreed to at the level of the police high command, or did ACP Welsh go off the reservation?

The public deserves to know.


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