Although police intelligence has led investigators to suspected criminals in the country, they are able to wiggle their way out of potential charges as a result of support from persons close to them.
This was revealed by the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Superintendent Clauston Francis during this week’s Police on the Beat program on NBC Radio.
Over the last few months, the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) has intensified its crime fighting and prevention strategies in response to increased incidents of crime which include robberies, shootings and murders.
The measures include stop and searches, raids at the homes of suspected criminals and also increased police patrols in hotspot communities around the country.
Francis explained that while they have been conducting searches, the work toward ridding the country of illegal firearms is being hindered.
“Some of the nefarious criminals are asking unsuspecting persons to hold firearms for them because they know that they are being targeted by police…”
SOP Francis went onto say that by the time they conduct the search, the weapons have already been stashed elsewhere.
“… Fortunately or unfortunately, some people are doing it. So when we search the suspect, we are coming up empty-handed. They have already given it to somebody to secure.”
He admitted the police need to do more work in relation to intelligence gathering. Expanding into the network held by criminals, he noted, is one way to put a dent in crime, but they would need the trust of the community to facilitate this.
“We need to expand our intelligence gathering capabilities though it is expensive. Somebody in the community knows something that will help the police, but no one is saying anything. They are saying they don’t trust the police and that [police] are going to call my name.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph at a Peace March and Rally in Layou on Friday November 24.
Joseph had urged residents in Layou to stop sheltering and hiding criminals and to volunteer any information they may have to police.
The RSVGPF will be holding a March and Rally today in Kingstown in collaboration with the National Commission on Crime Prevention.