New iniatives coming to take illegal guns off streets (+Video)
From Left: Colin John, Commissioner of Police and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves
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February 14, 2023

New iniatives coming to take illegal guns off streets (+Video)

The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) is aiming not to have a repeat of the 2022 record number of homicides in 2023 and so new strategies are being employed in the fight against crime.

This was revealed by Commissioner of Police, Colin John during a joint press briefing on Saturday, February 11, with Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves following a meeting with close to 30 high-ranking members of the constabulary.

“The year 2022 was not a very good year for the police…this is not a proud record for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines police force. Hence, we went back to the drawing board. We are still going back to the drawing board to look at areas in which we can ensure that that record is not repeated,” the Commissioner said, noting that the new initiatives will ensure a “more effective and efficient” force, especially in the area of homicides.

So far for 2023 the homicide count has reached nine, two of which include men who died as a result of police interactions. Commissioner John said for this year, the police will be focusing on restoring public confidence, and increasing police patrols in hotspots.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said arising out of the meeting a nine-page document on an initiative to “take illicit firearms off the streets” was tabled to be put into operation.
“We reviewed not just the current strategies, but how we can strengthen the area of operations and intelligence gathering and analysis, ongoing co-operation with regional and international agencies including the Regional Security System,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister, who was scheduled to depart SVG on Sunday, February, 12, for Guyana, said he intends to meet with the rank and file members of the RSVGPF soon. He spoke to the weakness within the force of “poor policing” and urged officers not to give criminals room to operate.

“…police do not cause crimes, but sub-optimal policing, or poor policing can provide more space for criminals,” he said.

“… and the important thing is for the police force to be so organized and perform and operate in a manner as to narrow the space to the furthest point practicable in relation to the criminals, that criminals don’t have the space to function, the gunmen don’t have the space to function.”

At the level of the judiciary, Commissioner John disclosed that the police will be “seeking an audience with relevant authorities” to discuss decisions coming out of
the courts.

“Not to speak on specific cases, but to speak on general concerns as regard the police and the magistracy, to see where we can ensure law enforcement and inclusive of the magistrate courts, that the citizens of St. Vincent and Grenadines, while not trampling on someone’s rights, they receive their justice.”

Commenting on the same issue, Prime Minister Gonsalves said earlier in the press conference that some of the decisions made by Magistrates, “some of them puzzle the police and puzzle right thinking citizens”, adding that this point was raised in the meeting between him and the leading members of the police force.

“…we cannot interfere with those things. There’s a judicial process, but I just want the public to know that the discussions ranged far and wide, touching on the issue of citizen security.”

The Prime Minister pointed out also that EC$42 million has been allocated for the police in the 2023 budget, not including the Coast Guard or the Fire Service.


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