24 officers of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CDPF) are now better equipped to investigate crime after they completed a two-week course in “Peace Suspect Interview Training.”
They received their certification at a ceremony held at police headquarters in Roseau on Friday morning.
Deputy Chief of Police said the course was intended to reduce the limitations of the police force, provide officers with the tools and confidence to execute their functions and raise the bar of investigations.
“This program is intended to be the department’s response to the current and projected crime situation in Dominica, regionally, and elsewhere,” Jno Baptiste noted.
He urged the officers to use the knowledge they acquired and avoid using “shortcuts” to do their jobs. “Be beacons of the projection of increased confidence in the police,” he noted.
Criminal Justice Advisor to the Eastern Caribbean Dan Suter also told the newly trained police to put the knowledge acquired to good use. “When legislation is passed, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative commits to providing equipment so you, those officers who have been trained can put all your best practices to use,” he said.
He told the officers that it is fundamental that they use their training to protect human rights.
“For too long those who have been suspects have been able to get away with quite a lot at the police station, they have been able to attack your integrity. Now with the legislation that is planned, human rights will be protected but equally in terms of advancing to justice and surely that has to be right,” he added.
Meanwhile state attorney Clement Joseph pointed out that the course will be beneficial to those who serve as jurors.
“It represents a paradigm shift in the way investigations are done here in Dominica. Too often we’ve had feedback from juries where they cast doubt on the testimony that reveals utterings of accused persons…. now they will see it in living color. They will have that opportunity to evaluate accused persons while they are being interviewed and to better come to a conclusion as to the credibility of what they have to say,” he said.
The training exposed the participants to various interview techniques such as the use of electronic equipment while investigating serious crime and was funded by the US Government and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
The course was facilitated by British nationals John Bailey and Alan Farmer.