RSVGPF outlines its plan to combat crime
The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) has a strategic crime plan which involves among other things, strengthening the information technology department of the constabulary.
“We have had several meetings and we are in the process of bringing it (the crime plan) to the general level of the organization for their input,” Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John told Dwight “Bing” Joseph on BOOM 106.9 FM last Monday.
The COP said the plan has been discussed at the senior officers’ level on several occasions and includes getting the police dog or “K9” unit up and running, enhancing the witness protection programme and placing emphasis on the electronic interviewing process.
John said in today’s world, most crimes are either committed by electronic devices or facilitated by electronic devices so the police are looking at improving the capability of their IT department.
He added that Antigua and other countries have been successful in using their K9 units to intercept firearms and drugs coming through the ports.
“We have received credible information that persons are bringing firearms into St Vincent and the Grenadines in vehicles and washing machines and appliances so with the assistance of the K9 unit, we can reduce the number of guns and drugs that come in,” said the COP.
In relation to the witness protection program, the COP said it is their intention to try to make better use of the Witness Special Measures Act where the law allows persons “at the extreme”, to give evidence anonymously or via video link from undisclosed locations with their identity concealed and their voice distorted.
He noted that with this procedure, only the magistrate and lawyers who are directly involved in the case will know who the witness is, and they are expected to maintain their integrity. The COP also noted that the Act overrides the lawyer/client privilege in terms of divulging information.
Commissioner John said since the implementation of electronic interviewing of suspects for serious crimes, they are seeing more guilty pleas and suspects can no longer say that confessions were beaten or forced out of them.
“You can see the interaction so that has resulted in more convictions and guilty pleas when lawyers see how clients reacted,” stated John.
The Commissioner also encourages persons to continue assisting the police and noted that from time to time, police officers may release sensitive information but identifying the perpetrator is something the police take seriously and once the guilty person is identified, the officer will be dealt with internally or otherwise.
He stressed that the police are doing their best to fight crimes and have stopped criminal activity on many occasions.
“The perception that you are not safe is out there, but the perception is not the reality, but the fact that the public is concerned about their safety is something that police officers have to make sure that we deal with.
“We cannot sweep it under the carpet, we have to make sure that the public feels safe and are able to go about their business in comfort and with some level of ease without having to look over their shoulder,” said Commissioner John.
He said that a number of other measures are in place, some of which cannot be revealed.