ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Development Control Authority (DCA) has made a recommendation to the hierarchy of the police force that their field inspectors be sworn in as special constables.
The aim is to increase the power of field inspectors to make them more effective in their duties and protect them from “vicious” attacks at the hands of homeowners.
Chairman of the DCA Leon “Chaku” Symister said the authority has already begun dialogue with Police Commissioner Vere Browne in this regard.
Symister told OBSERVER Media that this would give the inspectors the same protection awarded to police officers.
“That would, in essence, give them the same protection that police officers have, in that when someone attacks one of our inspectors, it would be the same as attacking a police officer in the execution of his or her duties,” Symister said.
Once the request has been processed, Symister said it would have to go through the Police Service Commission.
“If the determination is made to swear them in as special constables, the law requires the actual decision must be done by the Police Service Commission and then it will require the police commissioner to make that request to the Police Service Commission,” Symister explained.
The decision came after an increase in complaints that DCA inspectors were being verbally attacked and abused by homeowners when they show up at their properties to conduct inspections.
The chairman said in some cases inspectors were chased off properties physically by angry homeowners who were sometimes caught erecting structures without the necessary permission.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)