by JP Schwmon
The second annual Police Commissioner’s Shoot culminated last Saturday at the Arnos Vale Gun Range and was produced under the auspices of the National Firearm Association.
It is approximately 3 years since the inaugural staging of the police-only gun-shooting contest. Last year’s competition was eventually cancelled due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 150 participants entered the preliminary round of the contest, which ran for several days. But only 30 top shots qualified for the finals.
Acting Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph noted his dissatisfaction with the number of police officers who opted to take part this year, even as he congratulated winners row for their marksmanship.
“These competitions are very important for the police. And I want to say here that a shooting competition in the name of the Commissioner of Police is duty and I am very much dissatisfied with the numbers of officers that participated in this competition.
“We are over 1200 strong and my understanding is that it is just over 150 persons have participated in this competition. I do not know where we went wrong, whether or not officers were not interested or whether or not they were not given the time off but going forward we are going to ensure that officers are being given the time off to participate in this competition.
“Because as I said this competition it is duty. It is like police investigating, operational units going on duty – it is just the same thing and it is like sports; sports is duty.
“We are not participating in these things as just fun. Because one of the thing is that police officers must be able to shoot. It is not that you have to shoot to kill but you must be able to shoot because you have to be able to defend yourself in circumstances that your life is being threatened or someone else’s life is being threatened; you have to be able to do what you have to do and likewise for your colleagues.
“So as I said these competitions are very, very important. From here forward we are going to ensure that these competitions are well attended because it is part of police duty.”
Acting Police Commissioner Joseph also pointed to the fact that the competition plays an integral role in ensuring that local law enforcers are kept in a heightened state of readiness.
“On behalf of the Commissioner and all other members of the Royal SVG Police Force, I want to congratulate all of the winners here today. You have done well because the thing is that we need sharpshooters.
“It is not that we would have to use them but if necessary that the time come that we have to use them well we have to use them.
“And we want our police officers to be in readiness that in case of anything that you would be able to perform that task. The person who actually won the competition [Leading Seaman] Hamilton is a Coast Guard officer and you know in today’s world where you have a lot of drug trading on the sea and if Coast Guard officers cannot handle their hand when it comes to the weapons out there chasing boats and whatnot –
“So we have to ensure that we get them in a state of readiness. So just in case they have to use the training they would be in a position to do that.”
LS Hamilton beat out his closest rivals – both of whom are attached to the Special Services Unit – Police Constable Barber who placed 3rd and won himself $250 and Police Constable 484 Williams who grabbed the number 2 spot along with $500. Also joining winners row was Police Constable Homer, the lone woman police officer who placed in the top 30 shooters coming out of the prelims.
Homer, alsi attached to the SSU, netted $400 for her efforts while LS Hamilton was gifted $1000 and a soon to be engraved Glock knife for his outstanding marksmanship.
Inspector Angus Morris, the officer-in-charge of the gun registry and by extension the activities that unfold at the Arnos Vale Gun Range, lauded the quality of shooters who participated in this year’s contest.
“Even though we don’t practice as much as we want to, the quality is not the worse. It’s on par – it’s good but I guess from now going on because we saw deficiencies we would encourage the police officers to come out and practice more often,” he said.
Rodney Gallagher, a director with the National Firearm Association, sees the competition as one tool that can be continuously used “to identify the people who are the relatively good shots in their operational group” even as it acts as an incentive to drive up police practice time on the range.
Gallagher also noted that the Commissioner’s Shoot further provides the constabulary with a controlled space within which to ensure that “their firearms are serviceable and working” even as they take advantage of the opportunity “to test themselves against each other.”
The Commissioner’s Shoot marks the second gun-shooting contest that was hosted at the Arnos Vale Gun Range this year. The Emancipation Gun Shooting Contest was held in August and was open to all licensed gun owners across SVG.