BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE Public Relations Office of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force has disseminated a press release, headlined “Police Investigating Circumstances Surrounding Incident At The Frigate Bay Strip” to all media houses in the Federation, which can also be found on its Facebook Page.
The following are the contents of the press release in its entirety:
“The Office of Professional Standards of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force is currently investigating an incident in which a complaint was filed against Police.
“The incident took place on April 28 at the Frigate Bay Strip and involved three Law Enforcement Officers and one individual.
“The High Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force notes, with great concern, the information being circulated in the public domain surrounding this incident. All circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated.”
Professionally, it is a known fact that a presses release must be concisely written with a target in mind so as to draw media practitioners’ attention to newsworthy events. Additionally, a press release must contain enough information required to write and or broadcast compelling news stories.
The police, on numerous occasions, have been disseminating press releases with very little information and, of recent, the seemingly trend has worsened.
This particular press release is the worse so far.
Whenever a crime is committed in the Federation, be it a homicide, robbery, rape housebreaking, et cetera, the last paragraph of a police press release always states: “Investigations into this matter are ongoing. Persons with information about this incident are asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Department at the Basseterre Police Station by dialing 465-2241, their nearest Police Station or the crime hotline at 707.”
The above mentioned indicates that the police alone cannot solve all crimes, especially those of a very serious nature. Therefore, members they would seek assistance from members of the public to bring the perpetrators to justice.
An examination of this press release begs the following questions:
• What is the nature of the filed complaint?
• What is the gender of the individual involved in the incident with the three law enforcement officers?
• Was the complaint lodged by the said individual?
• Since the press release has indicated that information surrounding the incident is being circulated in the public domain, why was it not made known to the media by the police?
• Why the police have not sought the public’s assistance in this incident?
• Did this incident occur in an isolated area on the Frigate Bay Strip?
Over the years, it has been noted that members of the public have provided invaluable information to the police in the solvability of criminal offences. This has been happening through the media, which have been instrumental in keeping the public informed by publishing and broadcasting those press releases.
As said in the past to members of the High Command, on more than one occasion, “Media practitioners do not want the police to divulge information that could impede investigations. We are only seeking what is necessary to reliably inform readership and listenership.”
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Public Relations Office of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force to provide concisely written press releases that contain enough information required writing and or broadcasting compelling news stories.