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police robust in removing illegal firearms off the street

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The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) is committed to removing illegal firearms from the streets.

Speaking on radio last week, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Hesron Ballantyne, head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), said the police has been robust in getting illegal firearms out of the hands of criminals and that has resulted in fewer firearm related incidents.

Giving some statistics, ASP Ballantyne said that the proof of the fight against firearms can be seen in the fact that in 2017, we had 27 gun-related homicides and in 2018 we had a drop to 22 gun-related homicides.

He added that in 2010, there were 20 robberies committed with guns; in 2011, 59 robberies with guns and in 2012, 82 gun robberies. ASP Ballantyne revealed that in 2013, there were 60 gun related robberies, 63 in 2014 and 34 in 2015 and 21 in 2017.

“…So you see there was a drop…and as we recover more firearms, less firearms are used in robbery,” said Ballantyne.

He added that the recovery of illegal guns can be attributed to patrols, stop and search and the public’s assistance.

“We continue to retrieve firearms off the streets…and we have recovered some serious high-powered weapons,” the ASP said.

He however noted that the police are concerned with the murder rate, but noted that it dropped from 40 in 2017, to 34 in 2017 and this is a result of good policing.

ASP Ballantyne also noted that the police has recognized what is happening in relation to firearm related crimes and they have put strategies in place to get some of these firearms off the street.

“We did retrieve some and there are many more out there and we want to continue to work with the public and we are asking the public to work us,” said ASP Ballantyne who added that police officers are told that when persons call to give information, not to ask their names.

“We would be glad to know, but once you ask, the person turns off and don’t give the information,” said Ballantyne.

The ASP said that the police are here to ensure that security and safety is maintained in SVG.

Adding to the discussion, Station Sergeant Brian Archibald said that of the 40 murders in 2017, 27 were by way of the gun. He added that in 2010, there were six firearm homicides, eight in 2011, 10 in 2012, 12 in 2013 and 11 in 2014.

“This shows that in 2017, we had the highest homicides, but the policies caused firearms to be removed from the public. In 2017, 38 firearms were removed from the public and 392 rounds of ammunition,” said Archibald.

The latest firearm haul came on December 4, 2018 when police netted two 12-gauge shotguns, one MK rifle, one .357 Magnum revolver and one Glock 23 pistol. Also found were 56 rounds of 5.6 ammunition, eight rounds of .9 mm ammunition, six shotgun cartridges and six rounds of .357 ammunition.

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