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November 28, 2014
Police assign special unit to South Central Division

A special unit has been put in place by the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) to patrol the South Central Division, which has been tagged by law enforcement officers as a “hot spot.”

Assistant Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, explained that the special unit will be dedicated to patrolling communities from Glen to Biabou.{{more}}

“That is all they do. When we just started that special patrol, it only used to be mobile patrol and used to do the patrols in a very wide area throughout St Vincent. But since what has been taking place in the South Central district, we have based the special patrol there,” Joseph explained.

“…What they would do is take members of the special patrol, drop them off in certain areas, where they will patrol for a few hours and the transport will come and pick them up,” he explained, adding that that rotation takes place throughout the night.”

Stating that one of the main hurdles faced by the RSVGPF was the availability of transportation to carry out duties, Joseph added that the local constabulary has recently received six new vehicles, with two more on the way.

Apart from use by the special patrol unit, these vehicles have been dispatched to the Eastern Division, the Rapid Response Unit, the Special Services Unit, the Traffic Department and the Major Crimes Unit.

Because the South Central division is such a large district, Joseph said the police cannot be everywhere at once, but are doing their best.

“The special patrol sleep throughout the day and work at nights, along with the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) which does continuous patrols throughout the day and nights,” Joseph stated.

He further explained that the special patrol is restricted to that division because most of the homicides for the year have taken place there.

“South Central is really the hot spot that we are focusing on.

“…We are really doing a lot, but still, there are criminals who have bent their minds and regardless of what they are going to commit crimes. We just have to be professional and alert enough to catch them or prevent them from committing these crimes,” he said.

In addition to homicides, that division has also seen an increase in sexual assaults.

Earlier this week, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Jonathan Nicholls confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT that in the last few months, there has been an increase in rapes in the South Central district, with three having taken place as recently as last week.

Nicholls said the assaults have been taking place in the Calliaqua, Brighton and Prospect areas and on each occasion, there were two assailants armed with a gun and knife. The ASP also stated that the perpetrators seem to be targeting women living alone or without male companions.

Meanwhile, Joseph revealed that work has begun to accommodate a second mobile police station in Glen and noted that a third should be placed in Fountain as of this weekend.

Commissioner of Police Michael Charles, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT earlier this year, said measures were being worked on to deal with the escalation of gun crimes in the Glen area.

“That is one of the areas we have concerns for. We [are] looking at putting something in place for that area. I don’t want to say what it is right about now,” Charles stated on June 18.

Since February, there have been several reports of gun crimes in Glen, with more than five murders.