Police to implement comprehensive plan to deal with gun violence – Joseph
In the wake of several killings and assaults this month, Frankie Joseph, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, is sending a stern warning to criminals.
âWe are relentless in this fight and we want to tell the criminals that we are not going to stop, we are not going to ease up, we are coming full blast,â stated ACP Joseph on Thursday from his office at the Central Police Station.
Ten persons were killed violently this month and ACP Joseph said that he has devised a comprehensive, sustainable plan to deal with the violence, specifically, gun related violence.
Explaining, the ACP said that in 2014 there was an upsurge in murders; some 38, with 27 perpetrated using firearms.
He said certain strategies were put in place in 2014 and those strategies worked and spilled over into 2015, and saw the murder rate fall from 38 to 25, with 12 being firearm related.
âThe strategies worked, but the challenge that we faced was one of sustainability. We were not able to sustain those strategies for any extended length of time…,â explained ACP Joseph, who noted that the murder rate rose to 40 last year, with 28 being firearm related.
He said that the problem has spilled over into 2017, as of the 31 murders this year, 20 of those are firearm related, a very high percentage.
âWe had six murders in five days and five were firearm related, so we are having a serious problem with illegal firearms,â said the ACP.
He said that plans are underway to deal with the upsurge, as he has just returned from Roswell, New Mexico, where he interacted with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) personnel and Secret Service workers.
ACP Joseph said that while in Roswell, he had to do a presentation on the top challenge faced by law enforcement in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and he chose gun violence.
While in Roswell, ACP Joseph explored a number of policies and they will soon be implemented here, as they were presented to Cabinet on Wednesday.
âI will not disclose what was done or go into detail, but what I would say is … [it] looks at a long-term, sustainable strategy to fight gun crimes,â said the ACP, who stressed that what he did during his overseas training is fitting for this time.
âI can assure the public that we are relentless on this and it will not be a short-term policy. This long-term strategy is going to take care of the firearm violence and there will not be another upsurge,â Joseph stated.
The ACP commended the public for the recent support that is being given to the police, but he is appealing for some members of the public who have not been helping the police to change that stance.
He said persons who have information that can prevent the loss of life should tell the police and persons who can assist in solving crimes should also pass on information, as the police and Government cannot fight crime alone.
ACP Joseph said he knows the public has been talking about the issue of confidentiality, but the police take confidentiality very seriously.
âI reassure the public; we have been instructing police officers through lectures and meetings about the importance of confidentiality,â said the ACP, who added that in the past, they have investigated reports of breach of confidentiality, but they have never found any evidence to confirm it took place.
ââ¦But if we have the information, we will take the disciplinary action.â
He said officers have been instructed that persons who call to give information should not be asked for their name, telephone number, address or any other information to identify them.
âIn the event that you call to give information and you are questioned, hang up immediately and do not give any information,â said the ACP, who is encouraging persons who want to talk to the police to come to his office.
âMy office is always open; you do not have to make an appointment to see me. A lot of our officers are confidential also. If you do not feel confident calling the police station and walking into an office, call 456-1339 or call my cell phone number anytime, 496-5233. Any person should be able to reach me. I am hoping that this will take care of the confidentiality question that the public has, so that they will feel confident that they can give the police information and they can remain anonymous,â said the crime fighter.