Christmas Messages
December 23, 2009
Protect and safeguard the peacefulness of our nation

23.DEC.09

Christmas Message from the COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, Keith Miller.

As we Christians celebrate another year of the birth of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we must be reminded of the reason why He came to the earth; that is, to bring peace to all mankind. And as we celebrate, we must keep that in mind.{{more}}

Today, our peace is threatened through many different forms. This gives us reasons to be more on our guard and to defend the peace of our nation. A violation of our people’s rights and privileges is an infringement and threat to the peace of our society. As a nation, we have to co-operate by working together and looking out for each other in order to protect and maintain these rights and privileges.

As a Police Force, we are continuing to make every effort to protect and safeguard the peacefulness of our nation, through the assistance of persons locally, regionally and internationally.

For 2009, we have faced a number of challenges, but were able to respond favorably, notwithstanding our limitations. At the time of writing (14. 12. 2009), a summary of the statistics for the more prevalent and serious offences shows that there is an increase in residential burglaries and theft. Offences of burglary and theft are mainly crimes which offer an opportunity to the offender, hence the reason why we always advocate and advise that property owners exercise every possible element of caution to reduce the perpetrators’ chances. Yes, we all agree that owners have a right to have their belongings free from interference, but in a society where there are those who are bent on deviance, such a right is threatened.

It is also important to note that there is a reduction of homicides by seven, as twenty seven (27) were recorded for the corresponding period last year. There is not only a reduction in the number of homicides, but significantly, a reduction in violent killings. Last year, fifteen (15) of the killings were firearm-related, compared to two (2) this year. There is also a reduction in drug and gang-related killings. In 2009, there were four (4) drug, and six (6) gang-related ones, while this year, two (2) are drug, and zero (0) gang-related.

I believe it is safe to say that we can attribute the reduction of violent crimes to Vincypac Operation of May this year and the community policing strategy, which we have implemented throughout the state, with emphasis on Ottley Hall, Edinboro and Redemption Sharpes, seeing that these communities present the biggest challenges as regards to violence. During Vincypac, twelve (12) firearms and three hundred and ninety-four (394) rounds of ammunition were retrieved and about eight million, five hundred and twenty-one thousand, two hundred and thirty-three (8,521,233) marijuana and related materials were destroyed.

This operation is considered to be one of the better crime-fighting strategies employed as a single effort to tackle a number of illegal activities. As a result, follow-up efforts are continuing to prevent the return of lawlessness that existed prior to the operation and to sustain the level of peace we now enjoy.

Since the stepping up of our community policing strategy, we were able to enhance our approach and relationship with members of the public. This led to some early rewards, as we were able to get nine (9) firearms off the streets in the Ottley Hall/Edinboro areas, and with our continued vigilance throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, thirty-one (31) from other areas, bringing the total number of firearms to forty (40) for the year thus far. Most of these recoveries were intelligence-driven, hence the continuing effort to develop and sustain our community policing strategy.

However, notwithstanding the efforts in this area, there is a need for more communities to get involved in more Neighborhood Watch Programmes. This, I believe, will help the Police with more residential and community problems and will strengthen our efforts in being better neighbors.

While we celebrate this Christmas, let us reflect on the good we have done and put plans in place for those we hope to do. Let us endeavour to be like the good Samaritan and maintain good neighbourly principles. May the Lord continue to bless us over the season and for the New Year!