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Police Need Training on How to Uphold Law, Treatment of Youth

Apr 21, 2023

Police Need Training on How to Uphold Law, Treatment of Youth

Dickie Bradley

Prior to issuing the guilty verdict, Justice Antoinette Moore referred to the Convention on the Rights of a Child and spoke of the need for more training of police officers as it relates to the Firearms Act and the Police Act, as well as the constitution.   Back in January, the Justice for Laddie Foundation, during a Youth for Change Symposium, echoed similar recommendations via Laddie’s Law. It suggested amendments to ensure accountability of law enforcement officers during police-involved incidents.  Attorney Dickie Bradley says this case is a indictment of the Belize Police Department.

Dickie Bradley, Attorney-at-law

“You would have heard her refer to the Constitution of Belize several times because the shooting of Laddie Gillett has made no changes whatsoever in the system – none. Only a few weeks ago, a police officer issued with a powerful military rifle, two point two-three, shot a nineteen-year-old claiming that the motorcycle was shooting at him. And it is clear to us that there has been no review, no reform, there is no assistance given to the Commissioner of Police by way of personnel, by way of training. We the lawyers who come to court and see this heartbreaking results. The tragedy here is that nothing can bring back Laddie Gillett, but a young police officer in his late twenties will more than likely go to prison for an error that could have been avoided had there been proper training and proper management of police officers.”

Lucy Fleming, Grandmother of Laddie Gillett

“It is very important. We’ve been in touch with the police academy and we have been talking to them about if we could have any part or put anything into advance training because we do feel that without training of the police force, we are not going to get where we need to be. So it is not only the civilians speaking at this point in time, I also think we need additional training for the police so that when they find themselves in that situation, they don’t act the way Martinez act.”

Dickie Bradley

“So nothing learnt from Laddie Gillett, all the protest from the young people in the curfew period, all the expressions that came out – the government said there would be police reform [but] nothing has happened. And God forbid other people will lose their lives at the hands of poorly trained police officers.”