Saturday 11 July, 2020

Police in Barbados stepping up response to harassment

Police are warning that harassment in the workplace in any form will not be tolerated, and that harassment is being seen as an act of violence.

Acting Senior Superintendent of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), Margaret Stephen said: “Harassment is just as bad as physical acts and will be treated by the RBPF as such”.

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Stephen explained that the Force defines violence as “the behaviour by persons against persons or property that intentionally threatens, attempts or actually inflicts physical harm”, and stressed that they are viewing harassment charges and cases with the same seriousness.

The senior cop stressed that Barbadians need to understand the police has a role to play in addressing and curbing this issue, highlighting this is not an employee-employer only situation. 

In her presentation, she disclosed that over the past few years, there has been a spike in violent crimes on the island.

As a result, the government of Barbados has increased the power of the RBPF as of 2018.

New police roles consist of the right to search persons and their vehicles, the right to instruct persons to immediately leave or remove a vehicle from a cordoned area, the right to mandate persons to answer questions and the right to seize, retain and secure offensive weapons, illegal drugs and stolen property.

She further stated that there are specific violent acts with which the police are coming into contact daily.

Most of these are pretty crimes. These acts either fall under the Trespass to Property Act, the Criminal Damage Act, the Theft Act and or the Public Order Act.

Stephen's comments came at a recent seminar hosted by the Barbados Employers’ Confederation on 'Violence and Harassment in the Workplace'.

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