Over the past few weeks, the Belize Police Department has been under heavy Public scrutiny after various members of the Department have been sanctioned for various levels of wrong doings.
Viewers may recall that the first public embarrassment came from a video which exposed a fiasco in which San Pedro police officers are seen openly firing during a scuffle outside of a popular nightclub and resulting in a woman being badly beaten by the cops. The second incident, involved a video featuring a pair of officers transporting contraband goods across the Belize/Mexico border near Botes in Orange Walk. The pair, identified as Constable Jorge Ascurio and Alfredo Gongora, have since been charged. Another pair of officers, P.C. Elston Rojas and Police Corporal Abner Marroquin, were also charged for illegally contrabanding a number of items after a vehicle chase by Customs officers near the northern border. The latest scandal to the department came as Woman Police Constable, Ann Marie Anthony was charged with ‘theft’ following an incident in a business establishment in the Cayo District in which money went missing from the establishment’s cashbox during a police operation.
At the wake of these less than desirable incidents, today the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a release announcing its “Zero Tolerance Policy for Police Improprieties” in which they assure the public that every report of wrongdoings by its members will be dealt with urgency and transparency.
According to the release the Police Professional Standards Branch is being enhanced and ensures that its personnel will be taking a pro-active role in ensuring that the BPD’s professionalism is maintained.
The public is also encouraged to report any activity which can be perceived as improper to the Professional Standards Branch in Belmopan.