Senior cop apologises for comments branding firearm holders as cowards Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Hours after the Police High Command reprimanded him for describing licensed firearm holders as “cowards”, Deputy Superintendent Paul Bernard has issued a public apology for his remarks.

Bernard, who is the operations officer for Zone 1 in the St Catherine North Police Division, was critical of some licensed firearm holders, including parochial councillors, for not assisting law enforcers in the fight against crime.

He had raised a point during Thursday’s monthly meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, about the deadly violence gripping sections of the division.

“A lot of us are cowards, even firearm holders inside here, most of you are cowards… Tell me when last yuh hear a firearm holder shoot somebody. A lot of you are cowards man. Unuh a leave the fight to police alone!” the officer claimed then.

In response, the high command on Monday morning said it considered those “remarks to be reckless and not representative of the values and professional standards of the JCF.”

Following that broadside from his superiors, Bernard wrote and recorded an apology, which was posted on the JCF’s Instagram page on Monday afternoon.

“Through this medium, I would like to extend my deepest apologies for the comments I made at the recent meeting of our municipal corporation.

“The statements were inappropriate, and do not reflect the values and standards upheld by the Jamaica Constabulary Force,” Bernard said.

He acknowledged that the remarks were “an error in judgment”, and were, therefore, not in line with the principles of stakeholder engagement that members of the JCF are committed to locally.

“As a 38-year advocate of community-based policing, I am deeply sorry for any distress or harm my words may have caused to the community, my colleagues, and the wider public,” the senior lawman stated.

Further, he said his statements were not reflective of “the transformation in quality” of service that the police are currently engaged in nationally.

“So, I fully understand the gravity of my actions, and I am prepared to face the consequences determined by the Jamaica Constabulary Force High Command,” Bernard declared.

He vowed to learn from the experience, ensuring that “such behaviour is never repeated”.

The high command had earlier indicated that the member in question would “face” it “as we maintain our commitment to accountability and integrity within our ranks.”