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Jan 30, 2019

ComPol’s Office Reopens in the City

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says he wants to rebuild the trust with the public. He is going about that by opening up his doors to members of the public, providing a listening ear to their concerns as it relates to safety and security and the work of the police department.  ComPol Williams reopened an office at the Raccoon Street Police Station in Belize City; the office has not been opened for at least two decades.  Today was the first clinic and as many as fourteen persons had made appointments before the meetings began.  Reporters were invited to the opening this morning where Commissioner Williams explained his role and the function of the office. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

After almost twenty years, the office of the Commissioner of Police was officially re-opened this morning at the Raccoon Street Police Station in Belize City.  The ribbon was cut and Commissioner Chester Williams opened the doors to his new office where he will be holding “clinics” every Wednesday. With the blessings of Reverend David Goff, Commissioner Williams told reporters that this space will help to give the public access to him.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“I have said from day one that I intend to have an open door policy as well as easy access to members of the public. This office, from time in memorial, was established as the Commissioners of Police Belize City office. But for many years, the Commissioners of Police have not opened the office or held clinic where they can see persons from this part of the country. And so persons who would want to see the Commissioner then would have to go to Belmopan at the Belmopan Office and sometimes that is very much inconvenient to people who have to travel that and go and see the Commissioner.”

 

Members of the public who have concerns or wish to offer suggestions to Belize Police Department can do so every Wednesday. The office is also open to police officers.

 

Chester Williams

“The main reason for the office is to ensure that there is easy access to members of the public who may have grievance against the police or who may have ideas that they want to bring to the Commissioner of Police, as well as to police officers who may have welfare issues. They can then come here and see the Commissioner.  The functions of the office here is not to take away the responsibility of PSB or the independent complaints board. I am not here to address police complaints, per se. But, let’s say for example, you made a report to the police and times have passed and the police have not given you a feedback. You have been checking with the police and they are not forthcoming. If you want to come and see the investigator for that so that he can check with the office or the officer commanding to see how far they are with your complaints, then you can come. If we don’t have an avenue where people can come to get feedback about requests they had made to the police, then we are bound to fail.”

 

For the first day of clinic, fourteen persons made appointment to speak with the Commissioner today.

 

Donatila Chun

Donatila Chun, Resident

“I am glad and happy that something is happening for this New Year. A lot of crime and things are happening and if we don’t talk and speak out, then the police can’t help us. That is the reason I am here today. I have been having problems with a particular neighbor. They have been teasing me, harassing me and before I never made a report. So, today I come here to report it.”

 

Raymond Rivers

Raymond Rivers, Resident

“I have been beaten by police. I have been defamed by politicians. I have been defamed by the GSU. So, today I come dah this clinic to report everything weh happen to me. The Belmopan Police ban me from Belmopan after deh beat me and knock out all my teeth. I couldn’t get no justice from nobody because under Mr. Whylie every time I go dah police station deh nuh deal with me.”

 

Williams states that concerns that can and should be handled by the relevant authorities will be channeled to the persons responsible. He says that at the end of the day – it is about building trust and confidence in the Belize Police Department.

 

Chester Williams

“It has a lot about building trust and confidence. If you are a leader and make yourself accessible to the public and those you serve will totally enhance the way people look at you. It helps to build trust and confidence in the work that we do.”

 

To get an audience with the Commissioner, you are advised to make an appointment to secure a meeting slot during nine-thirty in the morning to three p.m. on Wednesdays. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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