PHILIPSBURG – During November month, the Office of the Ombudsman hosted a series of workshops focused on Integrity, which was attended by all members of the Police Force, including the Management Team, Division Heads and uniformed officers.
The aim of the workshop was to ensure that integrity procedures are followed by all Police personnel, especially where it relates to the handling of complaints.
One major point uncovered during the workshop was that public awareness needs to be raised regarding the procedure of filing a complaint, as most residents do not know that it exists and that the procedure additionally safeguards them from any inappropriate or unacceptable action of law enforcement officers.
Management of the Police Department is persistent in its efforts to hold their officers accountable for their actions and as such strives to educate its officers on all procedures. Given the limited resources available, the Management Team applauded the commitment to serve the community.
In their continued effort to remain transparent, Management of KPSM reminded the community that a complaints procedure has been in place since June 2015. The procedure is for persons who wish to file a complaint against a member of the Police Force of St. Maarten.
Reasons for filing a complaint may vary, but may include being dissatisfied with the service they received from an officer or if they believe a matter was not handled correctly, or if feel that information on the case is not forthcoming.
The complaint form, which is available at the information counter of the Police Station upon entry to the building, is available in Dutch, English, French and Spanish, and must be completed in its entirety. Or persons can send an e-mail to [email protected] and request the form in the language of their choice.
Once the form is completed, drop it in the mailbox at the Police Station and label it as such. The form can also be scanned and emailed to the secretary of the Chief Commissioner. If a complaint form is not available or persons are unable to visit the Police Station, individuals may opt to write a letter or send the complaint electronically via e-mail.
The Chief Commissioner and his secretary receive all complaints and ensure that it is forwarded to the correct department or organization such as the Public Prosecutor’s Office. A confirmation of receipt will be sent to the person filing the complaint within 48 hours, and a within 10 business days an update on the procedure of the case will be provided. An investigation is usually immediately launched and persons will be informed of the outcome within 4-6 weeks.
If questions remain, contact the Chief Commissioner’s secretary at 542-2222 (ext 201) or e-mail: [email protected].