THE BOTTOM – This week, Chief of Korps Politie Caribisch Nederland (KPCN) Alwyn Braaf visited Saba together with Head of Investigations Steven Senior.
On Tuesday the 23rd of January, Alwyn Braaf met with the Island Council on invitation by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson. Braaf listened to the concerns and questions of the Island Council members, following an incident on New Year’s Eve at the harbor of Saba in which a KPCN police officer drew his service firearm.
A criminal investigation has been initiated into the conduct of the police officer on New Year’s Eve. This investigation is independently being conducted by the National Investigation Department (Rijksrecherche) and should bring clarity to the exact facts of the events that night. Meanwhile the police officer in question has been suspended by the police force management and is no longer residing on Saba.
The Chief of Police expressed that he is committed to restoring trust in the police force among the people of Saba. “We hope that the actions of one police officer do not damage the trust in the police force as a whole. All employees of KPCN are committed to serving the residents of Saba in a qualitative, honourable and professional manner.” He expressed that police officers will make an increased effort to invest in their relationship with the community of Saba in their everyday work.
In a response to questions by Council Members, Braaf clarified that the use of a firearm by a police officer is limited to certain and rare circumstances, such as during an arrest for a severe crime or for self defense when no other options remain. The use of force by a police officer also has to be reported at all times and is always reviewed by a superior. He emphasized that police officers are trained and tested in the use of proportional force during training, in theory and practice. Recent incidents will be used to learn from and incorporated in future training.
One of the wider issues discussed was knowledge of the complaints procedure regarding police conduct. Chief of Police Braaf mentioned that he welcomes complaints, to learn, strengthen and improve the conduct and organisation of the police force. “We will organise informative sessions on our complaints procedure on Saba this year and invite people to make use of it.” Currently, an independent police complaints committee is also being established. Braaf mentioned that if the handling of a complaint by the police is not deemed satisfactory, there is also the possibility to complain at the Ombudsman.
“We appreciate Chief of Police Alwyn Braaf met with our Island Council, to engage in a frank and open conversation about our community on Saba and our policing needs”, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson stated. “There was a clear understanding to move forward together and improve our common goal to serve the people of Saba.”
If you have a complaint about the police, complaints can be directly sent to the Bureau of Internal Affairs of the KPCN: email@example.com. The Bureau of Internal Affairs falls directly under the Chief of Police and the Korpsbeheerder supervises its work. After the start of an internal investigation different outcomes and consequences are possible, ranging from a written reprimand to a discharge of involved police officers. A complaint could also be deemed unsubstantiated after investigation.