Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part III

The Royal Grenada Police Force and the Recruitment and Function of Police Aides

Paragraphs 65 thru 66. - The numerical strength of the Police Force and other related bodies.

65. A document prepared in the office of the Commissioner of Police was admitted into evidence and provided the following information:

Strength of Police Force and Other Organisations -
November 1973 - January 1974
Royal Grenada Police Force 498 551 559
Grenada Volunteer Constabulary 160 160 160
Police Aides or S.R.P.'s 305 - 462

Grenada Volunteer Constabulary
1950 - 1974
First established - 1950
Disbanded - 1970
Recalled - 1973

Police Aides or Special Reserve Police
Established - 1970
Disbanded - 1973
Recalled - May 1973
Disbanded - November 23, 1973
Recalled - January 21, 1974
Disbanded - March 30, 1974

One striking feature arising from the documentary information is the statistical position of the law enforcement agencies in relation to the expressed purposes of Mr. Gairy as Minister of National Security in May 1970. In that year the lawfully constituted Volunteer Constabulary was disbanded. Mr. David said its members were absorbed into the Police Force. It may therefore be reasonable to assume that any threats to national security at that time could have been met by authorised increases in the establishment of the Police Force or, alternatively, by retaining the Grenada Volunteer Constabulary and increasing its membership. The evidence discloses, however, that instead the course adopted by the Minister of National security was the recruitment of police aides, all of the same rank, with respect to whom no disciplinary provisions applied and who, at least during 1973, performed functions which should ordinarily be executed by members of the lawfully constituted Police Force. There is evidence, to which reference has already been made, that police aides, without warrant arrested persons for whom warrants of arrest had been obtained, arrested persons with respect to whom no offences were at the time alleged, and finally, they carried and used firearms in public. The allegations of police brutality were made substantially in relation to the police aides, although certain members of the Police Force aided and abetted police aides who unlawfully assaulted members of the public. Details of the incidents are mentioned elsewhere in this report.

66. It is relevant to consider the character of the men who were recruited as police aides in relation to the May 1970 speech of Mr. Gairy. Nothing in his evidence indicated an intention of the Government of Grenada to increase the Police Force in 1970. Nor did his evidence suggest in any way that the decision to recruit police aides was a decision of the Government of Grenada. The manner and place of recruitment suggests that Mr. Gairy assumed full personal responsibility for the recruitment of police aides not only in May 1973 but also in January 1974. Evidently, the men recruited were paid from public funds; but the records produced by the pay clerks to show the strength of the force receiving payment did not coincide with the statistics produced by the Commissioner of Police and the Commission was left with the distinct impression that it had not received reliable evidence about the numbers of men who were in fact recruited as police aides in 1973. Nor was there reliable evidence as to the policy and method of payment. for example, some police aides were otherwise employed in the Public Service while others were otherwise unemployed. One document tendered by Mr. James showed a strength in November 1973 of 305 men while another, in greater detail, showed a strength of 320. Bearing in mind that good character is a requirement for membership in the Police Force, the Volunteer Constabulary and the Rural Constabulary, it was revealing to learn that no fewer than 53 of the police aides were men with previous convictions for criminal offences. Their particulars are now a matter of public record and some of those whose names have been mentioned in incidents involving violence deserve to be especially mentioned.

Back: Duffus 64      Next: Duffus 67       Duffus Contents     Home Page: Index