Police ups ante in crime fight

National Security Minister, Marvin Dames.

Dames tables 17-page police crime plan

The Royal Bahamas Police Force’s (RBPF) top priority for this year is the prevention and reduction of crime with a concentration on “disrupting organized crime groups”, according to the Commissioner’s Police Plan 2018.

In the 17-page document tabled in the House of Assembly on Thursday, Police Commissioner, Anthony Ferguson said, there were “significant challenges in 2017” including an unacceptable number of homicides and the continued proliferation of drugs and guns on the streets.

He noted that police are also still seriously concerned with the high number of persons being electronically monitored continuing to reoffend.

“We will work to prevent and reduce crime,” he said.

“We recognize that policing in this era is complex and dynamic. It will require that we intervene on a timely manner to curtail acts of violence whenever it occurs. We will vigorously employ strategies that will maximize our use of intelligence, public education and technology. We will focus on crime hotspots and repeat offenders, work with partner agencies and the community, disrupt organized crime groups and pay special attention to at risk youth and vulnerable populations…

“In 2017, of the 122 homicides recorded, 55 victims were under the 25 years of age and firearms were used to commit the homicides. These victims all had prior contact with the police and the motives in these matters were usually due to conflict or retaliation.”

With 14 people dying in traffic accidents for in the first three months of the year, the policing plan also focuses on road safety initiatives.

“In 2017, there were 54 traffic fatalities. There continues to be too many drivers who speed on the roads which significantly impact the number of accidents that occur,” the plan noted.

“We will enforce the Road Traffic Act and its regulations… use CCTV to monitor major intersections, apply CCTV technology and other measures to reduce times taken to investigate traffic matter and increase the number of speaking engagements on road safety at schools.”

The plan also focuses on enhanced interaction with young adults, utilizing more technology and improving the health and professionalism of RBPF officers.

“A fundamental pillar of policing is public trust,” the plan continued.

“Our behavior, attitudes and actions must demonstrate that we value or relationship with the community. There were incidents shared across social media where police officers committed actions in violation of our policies. This lack of professionalism placed us under heavy scrutiny.”

The policing plan was expected to be released in January along with the annual crime statistics.

National Security Minister, Marvin Dames, told parliamentarians that delay was caused by Police Commissioner Ferguson’s attention to detail.