Herstelling mother complains about police conduct, detention of minors

Stabroek News
December 31, 2002

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A parent is distressed over the conduct of some police ranks who detained a group of minors on Christmas Day in the East Bank village of Herstelling.

In a letter to this newspaper the parent, who wished to remain anonymous, criticised the attitude of some policemen from the Providence Police Station regarding the treatment of her son and some of his friends. According to the single parent, a police patrol from the station picked up the group of boys following the alleged use of foul language within their hearing.

Relating the Christmas afternoon events, the mother said the boys, ranging in age from 11 to 14, were loaded into the police vehicle following allegations that they had sworn at the ranks.

According to the woman, a mother who was sitting on her stairs, on seeing the unfolding situation, approached the vehicle to ask why the boys were being held.

But the officers accused her of "harassing them" while telling her "if she wants she can take her sons out of the vehicle and they would shoot her." The parent said the policemen were armed and wearing bullet-proof vests.

According to the upset mother, "They [the boys] were put in the police vehicle to sit on the floor and had to listen to the policemen cursing them, even threatening to shoot them throughout the ride to the Providence Police Station."

Once at the station, the boys were said to have been ordered into a dark room somewhere at the rear of the building.

Contacted on the matter on Saturday, Police Public Relations officer, Assistant Superintendent, David Ramnarine, said the alleged misconduct on the part of the ranks involved would indeed be a cause for concern.

Ramnarine said he would not want to comment when he was not sure if an official complaint had been made. But he advised the mother of the child/children to contact the officer in charge of the ranks, based at Ruimveldt.

According to the senior police official, the force's administration has been calling on its members to display the highest standard of professionalism and integrity.

"However, rather unfortunately, particularly at the lower level, these incidents of unbecoming behaviour continue to be perpetuated," Ramnarine noted. He alluded to the possibility of a lack of proper supervision, direction and control on the part of the person in charge of the police party.

The mother in her letter said her child has been traumatised by the incident. When the boys' parents proceeded to the station they were ordered to wait outside by a constable and according to the woman no one attempted to find out the boys' whereabouts.

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