Eight police officers in new Sexual Offences Unit
Eight police officers have been formed into a Sexual Offences Unit (SOU) and given responsibility for investigating rapes and matters of unlawful sexual intercourse in the under 13 age group.
The unit has also been given the responsibility of dealing with sexual offences against visitors and foreigners.
The SOU is headed by Sergeant Desrine Daize, an officer with 19 years experience. Commenting during the launch of the unit on Wednesday at the police conference room in Kingstown, Sergeant Daize said that she is proud to head up the unit. She added that the formation of the SOU shows the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force’s (RSVGPF) dedication to the investigation of sexual offences.
The other members of the Unit are Corporal Nicola Williams and constables Juliet Pilgrim, Tamika Charles, Verna John, Hadley Ballantyne, Josette Scipio and Romancia Jordon.
Speaking at the launch of the SOU, Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John said the hierarchy of the organisation saw the need to have a specialised unit dealing with sexual offences.
“Persons who are affected by rape or other acts of indecent assault, they in most cases are traumatized and we see the need to have persons who are specially trained to deal with them,” said the COP who added that the unit will receive specialized training while some members have already been trained in certain aspects of handling sexual offences.
The SOU came about as a result of a committee that was set up and headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Richard Brown and had as members Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Julianna Charles, ASP Tecla Andrews, ASP Nigel Butcher and ASP Trevor Bailey.
The COP noted that from time to time, the ACP in charge of crime or the Deputy COP can delegate certain offences to be dealt with by the SOU apart from their daily duties.
The SOU is housed at the Questelles Police station and will also be dealing with cold cases.
“So, we will be asking the stations where offences of rape are reported, and no one was arrested or apprehended for them, that these case files be sent to that unit so that it can be reviewed, and we can see if there is any evidence that can assist us in solving these crimes,” said the Commissioner.
He added that the unit has practical benefits including that the members are in one location and are able to share their knowledge and skills, “so it is like iron sharpening iron.”
The COP noted that offences where unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl above the age of 13 but below the age of 15 are reported, they will allow the various out stations to deal with them so that persons can get practice dealing with sexual offences.
“But some of these offences depending on the nature, the Commissioner or others can designate that offence be dealt with by the SOU,” John explained.
Junior Simmons, Inspector heading up the Police’s Public Relations and Complaints Department said the RSVGPF is a service-oriented organisation that serves the public on a daily basis and as a result they always seek to raise that level of service to citizens.
“We are on a modernisation drive because if we are to remain relevant and effective in the 21st century we have to renew ourselves as a police force”, said Inspector Simmons.